On June 25, 2020, the Government of Albania awarded the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) the country’s most distinguished commendation, the Albanian Medal of Honor. In a ceremony at the Albanian Police Memorial, Minister of Interior Sandër Lleshaj presented the medal to DSS Special Agents Janet Meyer and Antonio Zamudio.
Meyer is the regional security officer and special agent in charge of all security and law enforcement programs and resources at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania. Zamudio manages DSS’ assistant regional security officer-investigator program at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, which is dedicated to investigating and dismantling global criminal networks.
At the ceremony, Lleshaj praised DSS’ support and partnership with the Albanian State Police (ASP). Over the last several months, DSS and ASP have conducted multiple joint criminal investigations and operations. Most recently, DSS and ASP investigated and dismantled a major human smuggling ring operating in Albania, which resulted in 23 arrests in Albania and 14 arrests in four other countries. DSS and ASP also work together regularly to return fugitives to the United States and Albania.
In her remarks, U.S. Ambassador Yuri Kim noted the United States’ close relationship with Albania, remarking that the latest operation would not have been successful without ASP’s support of the Joint-Shield Special Police Unit, a highly-skilled law enforcement team that works directly with DSS at Embassy Tirana. She also recognized ASP’s continued fight against transnational crime and her hope for successful prosecutions “so that criminals operating in Albania feel the pain.”
“I…want to encourage the efforts that the ASP has made over the past year to fight organized crime and to strengthen the rule of law,” said Kim. “We have greatly benefited from your continuous involvement in investigations that are linked to shared interests…. We look forward to continuing our close collaboration with the Albanian State Police, and I urge you to continue to fight against organized crime in Albania.”
DSS has the largest global footprint of any U.S. law enforcement agency, with agents and investigators at 275 locations in more than 170 countries, including in the United States. DSS continues to partner with the ASP and other officials in the Balkans to detect and deter global criminals and transnational organizations perpetrating multiple crimes that directly affect U.S. national security.
For more information, please contact DSS Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.