Albanian police arrest 5 in trafficking crackdown

Police in Albania say they have arrested five suspects as part of a crackdown on an international human and drug trafficking ring, coordinated with authorities in Italy, Slovakia and Belgium.

Police said Tuesday that the operation, codenamed Tempesta 2015, was launched in Italy. It also led to the arrest in other participating countries of 12 people suspected of criminal activity in prostitution and drug trafficking between September 2014 and June 2015.

Post-communist Albania has been a major source of human and drug trafficking.

In the past two years, Albanian police have destroyed more than 100 tons of marijuana and about 1.3 million cannabis plants, with a total estimated value of 7 billion euros ($7.6 billion) — equivalent to more than 60 percent of the country's annual GDP.