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Who is Dritan Rexhepi, the ‘King of Cocaine’ who escaped from Ecuador and was caught in Turkey

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This Friday, November 10, it was learned that he was captured in Turkey, where he was identified as the leader of the Kompanio Bello cartel.

Dritan Rexhepi is an Albanian boss who, despite having been imprisoned in Ecuador, continued to manage illicit activities from prison.

The drug trafficker was wanted by Italy and Albania for pending crimes in those nations.
He was on the authorities’ trail after it was learned that he had escaped from Ecuador.

In this Andean country he had been imprisoned, serving a sentence, but in 2021 he was able to leave after obtaining pre-release. He had to appear before the authorities every 15 days, but he disappeared. In 2022 it was presumed that he was no longer in the country.

This Friday, November 10, it was learned that he was captured in Turkey, where he was identified as the leader of the Kompanio Bello cartel.

Ali Yerlikaya, Turkish minister, confirmed the arrest as part of an operation carried out in Istanbul that included Italian and Albanian authorities.

The subject had a red notice and was wanted for transporting drugs from South America to Europe.

Dritan Rexhepi, a drug trafficker who was imprisoned in Ecuador, was arrested in this house in Turkey

Turkey noted that Dritan Rexhepi, leader of the international cartel, was found guilty of intentional homicide, drugs, and kidnapping by judicial authorities in Italy and Albania.

“He was wanted internationally with a red notice for extradition, accused of deprivation of liberty, falsification of travel documents, weapons, and ammunition,” said the Turkish minister.

In Ecuadorian police reports, the name of Murataj Lulezim, or Rexhepi Dritan, began to appear in 2014. From there, they began to talk about the tentacles that the Albanian mafia was tracing in the country.

That year, this organization suffered a blow with the execution of the operation called Balkans, which allowed the capture of eleven citizens, among them Murataj Lulezim or Ditran Rexhepi, who was tracked by Europol.

Murataj Lulezim, or Dritan Rexhepi, known as the King of Cocaine, received a thirteen-year sentence for the crime of illicit drug trafficking. He spent part of his sentence in the Cotopaxi Regional Social Rehabilitation Center and later in Pavilion 6 of the Guayas Zone 8 Deprivation of Liberty Center.

Albanian Dritan Rexhepi is considered by Europol to be the most “successful” Balkan criminal emissary in Latin America. According to the documentary Why Belgium is now the cocaine capital of Europe?, published by the British media The Economist, Rexhepi operated from Ecuador, a country where he arrived in 2011, after escaping from a prison in Belgium.

Rexhepi arrived in Ecuador with a false identity. However, this conviction did not prevent him from managing the transnational cocaine trafficking network to Europe. In fact, he managed to reinforce his control through a sophisticated structure for drug trafficking from South America, through which he bribed authorities and workers even on the European continent itself.

When it was learned that the Albanian had regained freedom, alerts went off. Former legislator Fernando Villavicencio, who was murdered during this year’s election campaign, denounced at the time that there were irregularities in the Rexhepi case.

He filed a complaint against officials of the SNAI, the entity in charge of prisons, to investigate the registration of signatures. It was presumed that the signatures he presented had inconsistencies and irregularities.

The medical certificates he presented to try to justify his non-attendance at the Penitentiary’s Trust House, where he was supposed to appear, were also suspected.

But in 2022 it had emerged that he was no longer in the country.

According to the Government of Turkey, Dritan Rexhepi entered the Istanbul airport with a Colombian passport. He posed as Benjamín Omar Pérez García.

Although he was detained in Ecuador, there were two extradition requests against him: one from Albania and another from Italy. The Albanian is also wanted in Belgium and he had been accused of ordering and organizing, from his cell, the kidnapping of a 49-year-old man in central Albania in February 2020. The victim was never found and is presumed dead. .

Italian authorities accuse Rexhepi of ordering at least two other murders while in prison in Ecuador and Albania.

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