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Albanian Bigwig Extradited to Face U.S. Charges

MANHATTAN (CN) - A senior aide to the deputy prime minister of Albania was extradited to the United States to face racketeering charges, including murder, kidnapping, drug dealing, robbery, extortion, arson and obstruction of justice, federal prosecutors said.

Almir Rrapo is accused of murdering Erion Shehu in the United States, to protect a racketeering crew led by brothers Bruno and Saimir Kraqniqi, which prosecutors say operated in New York, Connecticut, Michigan and elsewhere. They dealt at least 1,500 lbs. of marijuana and used guns and violence to protect their turf, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in announcing the extradition.

"Rrapo and other members of the Krasniqi Organization ... murdered Erion Shehu in a drive by-shooting outside a Queens café as a result of the Krasniqi Organization's ongoing turf battle with that other narcotics crew," prosecutors said in a statement.

Rrapo was senior administrative assistant to the deputy prime minister of Albania when Albanian National Police arrested him on July 2.

He could face life in prison if convicted of two counts of racketeering, murder in aid of racketeering, kidnapping in aid of racketeering, and other charges.

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