Albanian fugitive targeted by INTERPOL arrested in Ecuador
International cooperation sees identification of Red Notice subject
LYON, France – The arrest and positive identification in Ecuador of Dritan Rexhepi, the subject of several INTERPOL Red Notices for internationally wanted individuals and a target of a global INTERPOL fugitive operation, has been hailed by the world police body following international cooperation via INTERPOL.
The Albanian national, aged 34, escaped from police custody in Durres, Albania in 2006 after he was arrested for the premeditated murder of a police officer and for possession of military weapons, for which he later received a jail sentence of 25 years.
Following a series of extraditions after his arrest in the Netherlands in 2008, Rexhepi was also involved in jailbreaks in both Italy and Belgium after receiving jail sentences for drug trafficking offences in Italy and theft with violence in Belgium.
As a result, at the request of Albanian, Italian and Belgian authorities, Rexhepi was the subject of three INTERPOL Red Notices and a target of INTERPOL’s Operation Infra-Red (International Fugitive Round-Up and Arrest – Red Notices) in 2012.
In late June of this year, as part of an anti-drugs operation by Ecuadorean police in Quito, the Albanian fugitive, reportedly using a fake identity, was one of several men arrested in possession of some 278 kg of cocaine.
After a complex international investigation coordinated by INTERPOL’s Fugitive Investigative Support (FIS) unit and involving INTERPOL’s National Central Bureaus in Quito, Tirana, Rome and Brussels, as well as the world police body’s Command and Coordination Centre and Fingerprints unit, one of the men detained in Quito has now been identified as Rexhepi.
“The arrest and positive identification of this dangerous fugitive is a credit to all of the law enforcement agencies involved. It demonstrates the effectiveness of international police cooperation and underlines the value of INTERPOL’s global police tools and services,” said INTERPOL Executive Director of Police Services Jean-Michel Louboutin, underlining ‘the important step’ taken by Albanian authorities in highlighting Rexhepi as a target in Operation Infra-Red.
“The authorities in Albania, Belgium, Ecuador and Italy are to be commended for their role in cooperating with law enforcement worldwide to bring to justice an individual wanted internationally for very serious offences,” added Mr Louboutin.
A Red Notice represents one of INTERPOL’s most powerful tools in tracking international fugitives. Containing identification details and judicial information about a wanted person, Red Notices communicate to police worldwide that a person is wanted by a member country and request that the suspect be placed under provisional arrest pending extradition.
INTERPOL’s Operation Infra-Red in 2012 targeted more than 500 fugitives worldwide wanted by 59 member countries for offences including murder, robbery, kidnapping and drug trafficking. Since 2009 INTERPOL’s Infra-Red operations have involved some 1,500 cases, resulting in more than 500 arrests and positive locations.