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Crime & Cases June 17, 2010  RSS feed

Qns. Men Snared In Fed Drug Bust

Took Part In Heists, Kidnappings

Three Queens men were among 16 individuals named in a federal indictment for their alleged roles in an international drug trafficking and sales ring, it was announced.

Federal law enforcement agents identified the Queens residents as 44- year-old Skender Cakoni, 35-yearold Nazih Nasser and 33-year-old Gentian Nikolli, who were taken into custody by members of the Joint Organized Crime Task Force, which includes agents from the NYPD and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

All of the indicted defendants were variously charged with kidnapping, narcotics trafficking, robbery and firearms possession, according to Preet Bharaha, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who announced the indictment last Tuesday, June 8.

According to the indictment unsealed last week in federal court, the Queens defendants and others named in the indictment were reputed members of the Krasniqi Organization, a racketeering enterprise allegedly engaged in kidnapping, narcotics trafficking, extortion, robbery, and the interstate transportation of stolen goods.

Federal law enforcement sources said the Krasniqi Organization was led by brothers Bruno and Saimir Krasniqi, and operated in New York, Michigan, and Connecticut, among other locations. The Krasniqi Organization reportedly sought to enrich its members through various criminal schemes, including the trafficking of marijuana and used firearms and threats of violence to protect its power and territory, as well as to instill fear among rival drug dealers and victims.

In total, the Krasniqi Organization and their co-conspirators— including Cakoni, Nasser and Nikolli—are charged with having trafficked and distributed more than 100 kilograms of marijuana from 2003 through 2007.

Additionally, the alleged members of the Krasniqi Organization reportedly engaged in robberies and kidnappings. Specifically, on or about June 2005, after obtaining a multi-kilogram load of marijuana from one of the Krasniqi Organization’s marijuana suppliers (CC-1) and one of the co-defendants, several other members of the Krasniqi Organization allegedly used guns and threats of violence to rob CC-1 and the suspect of the marijuana and the marijuana proceeds. Subsequently, the Krasniqi brothers and other coconspirators kidnapped another rival drug dealer at gunpoint.

In addition to these charges, other members of the narcotics conspiracy are charged with firearms offenses. Specifically, after members of the Krasniqi Organization robbed CC-1 and one of the indicted suspects of marijuana and the proceeds of marijuana trafficking, the robbed suspect along with Cakoni and others obtained firearms to protect their narcotics business and attempted to violently retaliate for the robbery of narcotics by members of the Krasniqi Organization.

U.S. Attorney Bharara] said: “Led by brothers Bruno and Saimir Krasniqi, this international organized crime group allegedly engaged in kidnapping, robbery, narcotics trafficking and acts violence to fund and protect its operations. This investigation, which has spanned multiple states and two neighboring countries, demonstrates the ongoing commitment of the Southern District of New York and the Joint Organized Crime Task Force to pursue the ever-present threat posed by international organized crime operating within our borders and on our streets.”

FBI Acting Assistant Director-in- Charge George Venizelos added: “The alleged charges from today’s arrests include robbery, firearms possession, narcotics trafficking, and kidnapping. These indictments highlight problems that not only impact the citizens of New York City. The crimes committed have a major effect on criminal organizations and public safety worldwide. As witnessed today, cooperation between dedicated groups of law enforcement partners is, and will continue to be, a critical factor for successfully defending threats that endanger our societies and citizens, both at home and abroad.”

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said: “The nexus between violence and marijuana trafficking was never clearer than in this case, where rivals reverted to kidnapping and intimidation to control the market.”

U.S. Attorney Bharara praised the outstanding work of the FBI and NYPD in the Joint Organized Crime Task Force in the investigation. He added that the investigation is continuing. In addition, Bharara expressed his gratitude to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for their cooperation in the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Avi Weitzman is in charge of the prosecution.

It was noted that the charges contained in the indictments are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.