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On March 17, 2018, the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) assisted the Albanian State Police (ASP) operation that resulted in the arrest of 39 members of a large international criminal operation suspected of smuggling Albanian citizens into the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. ASP also arrested four Albanian border inspectors for failing to document border crossings by the smuggled nationals at border check points.

The investigation, “One If by Land,” spanned several months and was led by the ASP, the Albanian Serious Crimes Prosecution Office, and the DSS assistant regional security officer-investigator assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, including U.S. Border Patrol and the Office of Field Operations, along with several foreign law enforcement agencies, supported the operation.

The investigation uncovered seven organized criminal groups operating in Albania, Bulgaria, Spain, France, the Dominican Republic, Italy, Britain, Ireland, the United States, and Canada that had smuggled Albanian citizens into the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Individuals paid $25,000 to $30,000 dollars to travel to the United States or Canada, and £7,000 to travel to the United Kingdom. The individuals unlawfully immigrated to the three countries by using falsified travel documents and identities facilitated by members of the criminal groups.

The smuggling operation transited individuals through other countries, including Italy, France, Bulgaria, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Spain, and parts of Latin America, before they arrived at their final destination.

During the arrests, Albanian law enforcement officials seized material evidence, including computers and laptops, printers, phones, vehicles, an automatic firearm, a shotgun, and several documents and supplies that can be used to create and falsify identifying documents such as passports.

One If by Land is an ongoing investigation.

For more information on the investigation, please refer to ASP’s press release: https://www.asp.gov.al/index.php/17-shqip/lajmet-e-fundit/13391-mega-operacioni-i-koduar-one-if-by-land-ne-kuader-te-goditjes-se-kontrabandimit-te-personave-me-qellim-emigrimin-drejt-shba-ve-kanadase-dhe-mbreterise-se-bashkuar.

The Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) is the U.S. Department of State’s law enforcement and security arm. The special agents, engineers, and security professionals of DSS are responsible for the security of more than 270 diplomatic posts around the world. In the United States, DSS personnel protect the U.S. Secretary of State and high-ranking foreign dignitaries and officials visiting the United States, investigate passport and visa fraud, and conduct personnel security investigations. For additional information about DSS, visit DiplomaticSecurity.state.gov, or follow us at https://www.facebook.com/StateDeptDSS or https://twitter.com/statedeptdss.

For additional information, contact Diplomatic Security Service Public Affairs at DS-Press@state.gov.

U.S. Department of State

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