Prosecutors in New York say the aide, 27-year-old Almir Rrapo of Albania, is a senior member of the Krasniqi crew, an international crime organization engaged in murder, kidnapping, narcotics trafficking and other illegal activities in Albania and the U.S. The group has operated in New York, Connecticut and Michigan.
In the 37-page indictment, officials said Rrapo, also known as “Miri,” participated in the 2005 murder of a man in Queens. He is also accused of helping to kidnap a rival drug leader at gunpoint and pistol-whipping him.
Rrapo was arrested by Albanian authorities July 2 at the request of the United States. Prosecutors said the Krasniqi crew “sought to enrich its members through various criminal schemes, including the trafficking of more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana, and used firearms and violence to protect its power and territory.”
“This case reminds us that, despite the increasingly global nature of organized crime, its dangers are right here on our city streets,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement today.
Officials also announced the arrest of Florian Veshi, 26, of Brooklyn, another alleged member of the Krasniqi crew.
A joint FBI and the New York Police Department task force arrested 13 members of the group in June, the New York Daily News reports.
Rrapo was charged with one count of murder in aid of a racketeering enterprise, two counts of racketeering, one count of kidnapping and other crimes. If convicted, he could face life in prison.