26 Dec, 2023 @ 19:00
1 min read

PICTURED: Most wanted criminal in Europe who was found hiding among expats on Spain’s Costa Blanca

PICTURED: Most wanted criminal in Europe who was found hiding among expats on Spain's Costa Blanca
PICTURED: Most wanted criminal in Europe who was found hiding among expats on Spain's Costa Blanca

AN IMAGE has been released of an Albanian mobster who was arrested by the Policia Nacional earlier this month after a search lasting nearly two years.

Lulzim Berisha, 52, was described as one of Albania’s ‘Most Wanted’ and ran a criminal gang responsible for dozens of murders since 1998.

As previously reported by the Olive Press, he was tracked down to an apartment in the popular holiday spot of Playa de San Juan in Alicante.

BERISHA ARREST

Berisha- nicknamed Durres after the region of Albania where he operated- began his criminal activity in the 90s.

The Police Nacional said that the ‘gang achieved a large deal of control in the region and positioned itself as the main exporter of cocaine and weapons in the country.”

Durres was wanted for the murder of two people, which was the settling of scores between rival gangs that happened in 2005, and saw his associates brought to justice 15 years later.

An Albanian court in 2012 sentenced 16 of the members of his crew to four life sentences and 267 years in prison for murder, extortion and kidnapping.

Since 1998, his gang committed dozens of murders but Durres escaped trial before being arrested seven years ago in Macedonia and extradited to Albania.

He managed to get out of prison without serving his 25-year sentence, after a Durres court bailed him on health grounds.

That decision came after the Supreme Court rejected the prosecution’s request for life imprisonment.

Taking advantage of his release, he fled the country and ended up taking refuge in the Alicante area where he continued his criminal activities and obtained false Bulgarian papers to assume another identity.

In January 2022, Lulzim Berisha was declared a ‘wanted man’ by the Durres Prosecutor’s Office.

Knowing that authorities were on his trail, Durres was preparing to move elsewhere as the Policia Nacional swooped to arrest him at Playa de San Juan this month.

The National Court in Madrid is processing Albania’s extradition request which Berisha has made clear he will oppose.

Alex Trelinski

Alex worked for 30 years for the BBC as a presenter, producer and manager. He covered a variety of areas specialising in sport, news and politics. After moving to the Costa Blanca over a decade ago, he edited a newspaper for 5 years and worked on local radio.

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