Press Center

 Treasury Sanctions Network of Naser Kelmendi


3/24/2015

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the designation of four individuals and five entities as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for their role in the criminal organization led by Albanian Kosovar narcotics trafficker Naser Kelmendi.  Naser Kelmendi was named by President Obama as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Kingpin Act on June 1, 2012.  As a result of today’s action, all assets within U.S. jurisdiction of those designated are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.  

Naser Kelmendi has been engaged in criminal activity for more than 35 years as the leader of a criminal family in the Balkans, with a network of associates across Europe.  Naser Kelmendi’s criminal organization operates a drug distribution network that stretches through Afghanistan to Turkey and into Europe – primarily for the sale of heroin, but also for the trafficking of cocaine and ecstasy.  Naser Kelmendi and his organization also are suspected of laundering money through front companies. 

“Naser Kelmendi leads a powerful criminal organization that has made millions through the sale of narcotics for more than a decade. With today’s action, we are targeting family members and front companies acting as the public face for Kelmendi’s clandestine, illicit activities,” said John E. Smith, Acting Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department.  “This action demonstrates our commitment to targeting powerful drug trafficking organizations worldwide, and the individuals and businesses that they use in an attempt to legitimize their crimes.”

Police agencies throughout the Balkans region and international law enforcement bodies such as the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) have targeted Naser Kelmendi and his criminal organization for several years.  Naser Kelmendi was arrested on May 6, 2013 based on an international arrest warrant.   He was later indicted by the Special Prosecution Office of the Republic of Kosovo (SPRK) on July 4, 2014 on charges of murder and narcotics trafficking.  

Treasury’s action today targets four of Naser Kelmendi’s children – Besnik, Elvis, Donata and Liridon – for providing support to the narcotics trafficking activities of Naser Kelmendi or acting on his behalf.  Naser Kelmendi’s sons have also been involved in large-scale international monetary transfers of millions of euros related to illicit activities.  The July 4, 2014 indictment of Naser Kelmendi also names Liridon Kelmendi – a distribution manager of drugs to Serbia and other European countries – on five counts related to the sale and exportation of narcotics.  Elvis Kelmendi was arrested by the Kosovo police and EULEX in Kosovo on September 22, 2012 based on an INTERPOL Red Notice and sentenced to four years in prison on May 14, 2013 for attempted murder in Bosnia.  Besnik and Donata Kelmendi maintain businesses and conduct financial transfers on behalf of Kelmendi. 

Today’s action also names five companies that are owned, controlled, or directed by Kelmendi or his family members in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro.

Today’s action was taken in close coordination with the Department of Homeland Security’s  Customs and Border Protection National Targeting Center. 

Since June 2000, more than 1,700 entities and individuals have been named pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their role in international narcotics trafficking.  Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties.  Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million.  Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million.  Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.

For a chart relating to today’s actions click here.

For a complete listing of designations pursuant to the Kingpin Act, click here.

 

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