Albania: Police arrest 2 for alleged counterfeit documents

June 6, 2018

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albanian police said Wednesday they have arrested two people accused of supplying fake documents to help people enter Britain, Germany and other Western European countries illegally.

A statement said authorities who raided the pair’s homes found 16 counterfeit passports and many documents in Albanian and German.

The two detained Albanians, residents of the capital, Tirana, and the port city of Durres, were paid 10,000 to 16,000 euros ($11,700-18,700) for the fake documents.

Police did not say how many people are believed to have profited from the fake documents.

Albanian citizens are allowed to travel to EU member countries without visas, but they cannot break the limit of a 90-day stay in six months and must also offer financial guarantees for their stay.

In a separate case, police reported the arrest of four Albanians for helping 16 Pakistanis and one Syrian, who had crossed the border from neighboring Greece, to illegally reach Western European countries.

The four can be sentenced to up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to 8 million leks ($75,000) if the court finds them guilty.

Though Albania has not been part of the widespread migrant trail toward Western Europe, groups are stopped from time to time trying to reach northern Montenegro.

Earlier this year Tirana reached an agreement with the European Union to get assistance in border management and also deploy teams there to respond to potential flows of migrants.

The local media reports that hundreds of police have been moved to the Greek border to stop migrants crossing, a move that the government has not formally acknowledged so far.

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