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Police raid 'ndrangheta cartel importing Colombian cocaine

Prosecutors gave out 18 pre-trial detention orders to 'ndrangheta mafia members being investigated for the international trafficking of cocaine from South America to Calabria, police said Wednesday.

The operation "Buena Ventura," coordinated by the Reggio Calabria district's anti-mafia management happened just before dawn Tuesday.

The police commissioner Raffaele Grassi, the head of the flying squad Francesco Rattà and their teams dismantled an organization linked to the 'ndrangheta Calabrian mafia, which managed to bring huge quantities of narcotics into Italy from South America.

The cocaine came from Colombia, Peru and the Dominican Republic, and arrived in the Bel Paese via Spain. The drugs were then transferred to the piazzas of Milan, Naples, Bologna and Pescara.

The heads of the trafficking operations were the mafia groups from the Calabrian communes of Locri and Africo, who had managed to do business with the Colombians.

Amongst those arrested are Rocco Morabito and Giovanni Palamara, big names from Africo mafia families, considered heads of the Morabito-Bruzzaniti-Palamara 'ndrina mafia, the basic unit of the 'ndrangheta that operates throughout all of the Reggio Calabria province.

At the request of the prosecutor Federico Cafiero De Raho and the Judge for the preliminary investigation Adriana Trapani, the narcos with whom the Calabrians did business are also being arrested, such as the Colombian drug lord Carlos Eulogio Esquivel Lozada – the man with whom the Locri 'ndrangheta opened the canal of imported cocaine from Colombia.

This Calabrian cartel had organized advanced and inventive initiatives to bring the drugs from Bogota, hidden in containers of fruit or frozen fish, via designated companies operating in the importation of fruit and vegetables.

The goods would even pass through Bologna airport, where – as the investigation has revealed – the Mafiosi were able to count upon a customs officer – now being questioned – and a surveillance company, who were given the task of ensuring that the deliveries from Colombia containing the drugs did not undergo controls at the airport.

[Source: The Italian Insider, Reggio Calabria, 11Jan17]

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Corruption and Organized Crime
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