Albanian police who raided a luxury villa have arrested the suspected ringleaders of the gang of armed robbers who stole millions from an Austria Airlines aeroplane last year.
Police said that they raided the luxury villa hideout of the brothers, identified only as Klement Cala, 32, and Eldi Cala, 35, located in the village of Qerret, in Tirana County in central Albania.
In total, 300 police officers stormed the building and found the two together with an arsenal of weapons, including explosives, as well as 150,000 EUR (139,430 GBP) in cash.
One member of the armed gang were shot dead after they made their way onto the runway through an exit reserved for fireman at Tirana airport and managed to steal the money that was on its way to a bank in Vienna.
The money was being moved as part of a regular shipment of hard currency to Vienna as Albanian banks do not accept hard currency deposits.
In total, five armed robbers wearing military uniforms and they threatened luggage operators in order to make them hand over 4.6 million EUR (4.27 million GBP) before escaping.
One robber, identified as Admir Murataj, was shot dead, and several others identified as Ragip Hajdin, Elton Piklin, Renaldo Sulaj, Oltion Veselin, Saimir Cela, Alkond Bengas and Hasan Kanaci were arrested a few days later. But the money as well as the people that organised robbery were not traceable until now.
It was the third time that an armed robbery took place targeting the currency transfers, which were stopped after the last incident that happened in April last year.
The two men arrested are also wanted for another armed robbery in Albania. The operation was carried out by the Albanian State Police in coordination with the local police in the cities of Durres, Tirana and Elbasan.
Albanian Interior Minister Sander Lleshaj called the police operation “a major success in the fight against organised crime.”
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