Genti’an Kurdina, 23, a crew member from Kukës, Albania (see video below), who worked as an Aquatic Attendant at Carnival Cruise Line failed to return to the Carnival Dream cruise ship after disembarking at port and was reported missing on Monday, May 21, 2018. Carnival Dream was docked at the Port of New Orleans, Louisiana.
So, why were the feds quick to act on this particular ship jumper, while other crew have filtered and blended into American life in the blink of an eye?
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began searching for the ‘ship jumper’ crew member almost immediately. Ship jumpers mostly consist of people who joined a ship’s crew with the specific intent of jumping ship. Ship jumping soon became something of an epidemic, and shipping companies began to take steps to prevent it, encouraged by steep fines levied by the U.S. government for each escapee. For the most part, the feds have been content with fines, and rarely do an all-out full manned hunt for them.
CBP were dogged and able to track Kurdina to an Amtrak train headed for New York. They were able to track the train to Atlanta, where agents were able to check the train when it arrived there late Tuesday, May 22, 2018.
Agents boarded the train and took him into custody for removal from the United States. The American dream was crushed when he “jumped ship” and left the job which had brought him to the U.S. He became an illegal immigrant and was high on the priority list for capture by CBP.
Why would Kurdina become a high Priority for CBP? In the eyes of CBP, he could have had a much more sinister reason for heading to New York and it could have been terror related. Cruise Bruise Investigates has learned that most of Kurdina’s friends are from Albania, but others are from Germany, the United Kingdom and states such as Michigan, Florida and New York where terror related attacks have been growing in numbers since September 11, 2001.
In 2009, a Pew Research Center demographic study put the percentage of Muslims in Albania at 79.9% (2,522,000). The CBP could be investigating some of Kurdina’s friends who might have ties to Albanian Muslim radicals or perhaps even the Albanian Mafia who use their crimes to fund terror attacks.
On the other hand it could have been as simple as an admiration of the American Dream. Kurdina has some typical English cult followings for musicians Rihanna and Ellie Goulding. But Kurdina also follows the career of Albanian singer Elvana Gjata. Gjata is one of the most popular singers in the Balkans though, she’e not scheduled for any U.S. concerts in 2018. As of 2016, she has resided in the United States where she has worked with producers such as Poo Bear and David Guetta.
On August 14, 2015, Kurdina wrote online, “dreams”… are the roots of every first step in life.” For a young male from Kukës, Albania who had lived in Durrës, Albania, he was exposed to the concept of the American Dream back home.
In Kukës, a popular business is located just off the main square called the Bar America or The American Bar. The specialty is Tavë Dheu. Tavë Dheu is a common dish of Albanian baked lamb with rice baked with a mixture of yogurt and eggs added to a roux.
- American Law enforcement has long worked at ending the five named crime families located from New York to California, but, they have added a new name. The list of crime families Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, Lucchese now include the Rudaj Organized Crime Family.
- Organized cruise in Albania, as with the Italian families are flourishing in the illegal drug trade. Though, unlike the Italians, it’s widely thought the money is being funneled to fund Al-Qaeda and Islamic State terrorism. But, they aren’t just into the drug trade, arms trafficking, murder, extortion, fencing, robbery, human trafficking, blackmailing, loan sharking, theft, money laundering, assault, pimping, wildlife smuggling and bribery are very much a part of their earning capability.
- The Rudaj Organization was the name given to the Albanian mafia in the New York City metro area, so named for the man accused of being its kingpin, Alex Rudaj of Yorktown, New York. Rudaj is an ethnic Albanian from Ulcinj, Montenegro who immigrated to the United States in 1987.
- On January 17, 2018, eleven Albanian mobsters were arrested in connection with a heroin and fentanyl ring that distributed the drugs to Staten Island, Brooklyn and New Jersey. They were arrested on Staten Island, where the drug ring was based.
- On May 24, 2016, Albanian Sajmir Alimehmeti aka Abdul Qawii, 24, of the Bronx, was arrested, after he bought military-grade weapons and helped someone else get travel documents, equipment and encryption technology to fight with the Islamic State in Syria.
- On July 13, 2011, arrests were made including 37 alleged members and associates of an Albanian mob made up of several family clans and involving “hundreds of associates and customers spanning three continents,” officials said.
- On January 7, 2012, Albanian Sami Osmakac, 25, was arrested in Tampa, Florida in a federal sting operation. Osmakac was planning a terrorist attack on local nightclubs, as well as the county sheriff’s office. He was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against persons or property. Osmakac was kicked out of two mosques in the Tampa Bay area and reported to the FBI by a Muslim acquaintance. He intended to bomb nightclubs, detonate a car bomb, fire an assault rifle, wear an explosive belt in a crowded area, and take hostages. He was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison.
- Doda Lucaj (Lucaj v America)was one of 18 ethnic Albanians, including three other Michigan residents, indicted in 2006 by Montenegrin authorities who accused the group of plotting a rebellion to carve out an autonomous Albanian republic in the Balkan state.
- According to a report by Australia Government for Country Advice dated April 17, 2012, “An undated report on the Serbianna.com website titled “The New Islamic Mafia”, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced that “ethnic Albanian gangs including immigrants from Kosovo, are replacing the Italian La Cosa Nostra as the leading organized crime outfit in the US”. According to the report, “the Albanian mob is already the chief perpetrator of drug and people smuggling, passport theft and forgery, weapons and human body parts sales, sex-slavery, abductions [and] murders”. The report further noted that the “predominately Catholic Mafia is being replaced by a predominately Muslim Albanian Fis”, and that the emerging Muslim Albanian Mafia in the US “may be implicated in terrorist financing”.
- New Orleans Cruise Port Schedule
- Australia Government for Country Advice – Albania
- Wiki – Albanian Mafia
- Wiki – Sami Osmakac
- Lucaj v. America (pdf)
Video:Fighting the cannabis mafia – Albania’s drug cartels | DW Documentary