Albania ex-minister denies drug traffic, crime charges

A former Albanian interior minister accused of links to drug trafficking has denied charges of being part of organized crime rings.

Prosecutors on Thursday charged Saimir Tahiri with drug trafficking and involvement in criminal groups.

Tahiri called the allegations a political setup. He did not elaborate.

The investigation started in 2017 when he was a Socialist Party lawmaker, a post he resigned last year.

Tahiri was interior minister from 2013-2017 in Albania's Socialist government.

He is accused of links to a criminal group suspected of trafficking large amounts of cannabis. Some of the network's leaders have been arrested in Italy and Albania.

Tahiri says he has been told by Italian prosecutors that he is not part of their investigation.