Police said 28-year old government IT boss and active TikTok user Erisa Fero used her government ID to smuggle drugs through checkpoints.
The arrest of a senior Albanian government official with almost 60kg of cannabis shows the country is still struggling to shake off its links with state corruption and gangsterism, experts have told VICE World News.
The arrest of Erisa Fero, 28, on the 29th of December in a remote, mountainous section of Albania near the border with North Macedonia as she was allegedly transporting 58kg of cannabis, immediately turned into a political scandal – considering her position as IT director for Albania’s state information agency, AKSH.
Albanian police said Fero was using her official government ID as a security official to avoid police checkpoints and searches. During the arrest, Fero’s reported romantic partner, Leke Basha, 30, and a 17-year-old suspect, were also detained for drug trafficking offences. Two suspects on the North Macedonian side of the border, believed to have been receiving the drugs, escaped after a long manhunt, according to police.
According to local media reports, police suspect those arrested in the incident, including Fero, of having links with organised crime gangs. The incident came as NATO member Albania pushes for a deeper relationship with the EU, including potential future membership.