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Pandemic Puts the Screws to New York’s Mafia. In Italy, the Mobs Are Thriving.

Traditional organized-crime rackets like betting and construction are bleeding the New York mafia dry. But in Italy, the mobs are stronger than ever.

ROME—The New York mafia is taking a hit from the novel coronavirus pandemic after many of its money-making outlets have been shuttered.

Gambling halls, sporting events, and construction projects have long fed the Empire State gangs, but now that they are taking an “historic” blow, a law-enforcement source told the New York Post. “There’s never been a time when they weren’t making money through gambling,” the source said.

The American mafia families are also losing out on the extortion racket after restaurants and other entities close their doors under New York City’s “shelter in place” order. A halt to non-essential construction jobs, which includes transportation and port entry, has also put a dent in the U.S. mob’s profits.

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Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine released early from prison due to coronavirus; Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, other celebs want out, too

While most everyone in America is sheltering in place in fear of coronavirus, some celebrities behind bars, such Bill Cosby and R. Kelly, are pressing to be released from lockups where they fear the killer virus is raging or soon will be.

On Wednesday, the 23-year-old Brooklyn rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine (real name Daniel Hernandez), who suffers from asthma and once was hospitalized for bronchitis, was released from a federal prison to serve the remaining four months of his two-year racketeering sentence in home confinement, according to Nicholas Biase, spokesman for the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

“The government did not oppose counsel’s motion for compassionate release because the defendant’s medical condition placed him at high risk during the coronavirus outbreak,” Biase said in a statement emailed to USA TODAY.

Dawn Florio, one of his lawyers, confirmed his release to USA TODAY and said the rapper and his legal team were “super excited – ecstatic” about the news.

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U.S. probe into Mexican drug cartel yields 750 arrests — Diamond Bar, ATL, NYC

Agents also seized more than 20 kilograms of drugs and $20 million in cash from the cartel, the Justice Department said.

DEA agents move in on a residential house during an arrest of a suspected drug trafficker on Wednesday in Diamond Bar, California. Federal agents fanned out across the U.S. after a six-month investigation aimed at dismantling the upper echelon of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, known as CJNG.

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Wednesday announced more than 750 arrests after a six-month investigation targeting Mexico’s violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel, known as CJNG.

The Drug Enforcement Administration-led operation, called “Project Python,” is the largest to date in U.S. efforts to take down the notorious drug dealing organization now considered one of the most powerful cartels in Mexico and known for brutal kidnappings and murders in that country.

In addition to the nationwide arrests, agents seized more than 20 kilograms of drugs and $20 million in cash. Officials say the cartel has hubs in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Chicago and Atlanta and is a major presence on the Southwest border.

“CJNG has contributed to a catastrophic trail of human and physical destruction in Mexico,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczowski. “It is the most well-armed cartel in Mexico. Its members willingly confront rival cartels and even the security forces of the Mexican government. CJNG is responsible for grisly acts of violence and loss of life.”

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How Coronavirus is Affecting Mexican Drug Cartels

  • Hubei is a major source of fentanyl precursors.
  • China also supplies counterfeit pharmaceuticals.
  • The US restriction of travelers from Mexico has become a major hurdle for Mexican drug traffickers.

The coronavirus epidemic is affecting the global economy in the most serious of ways, and the Mexican government is scrambling to contain its spread. Even though the country has yet to implement a full lockdown, the coronavirus epidemic is taking its toll on the economy. Mexican drug trafficking syndicates have not been spared either. Just like legitimate businesses, they are beginning to feel the pinch.

Limited Supply of Drugs Precursor Ingredients from China

China is a prime manufacturing powerhouse. As the epicenter of the coronavirus scourge, it was the first country in the world to go into lockdown. Since the outbreak, the country’s industries have had to scale back production to allow the epidemic to blow itself out. The result is a decrease in supplies to overseas companies.

Mexican drug cartels typically get precursors for opiates, such as fentanyl and meth, from China. The novel virus has, however, held up the supply chain. According to a recent Vice report, the Sinaloa Cartel, the most dominant cartel in the region has increased narcotics prices as a result.

Methamphetamine prices have been hiked by over five times. According to the investigative report, Mexican drug lord Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada has ordered his dealers to increase the price of meth from $100 a pound to $600. Fentanyl prices have also soared from $35,000 a kilo to $42,000. The raw chemicals are a major export of Hubei province, the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic. The zone was among the first in mainland China to have its factories shut down.

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Mafia primed to feast on Italy’s virus devastation

As Italy mourns thousands of coronavirus dead, and survivors brace for life in an economic wasteland, one rung of society looks to win big: organised crime.

“The Italian mafia can turn threats into opportunities,” top government anti-mafia investigator Giuseppe Governale told AFP.

Over 10,000 people have died in Italy of the flu-like disease, which has forced the country into a lockdown that is devastating the eurozone’s third largest economy.

From the historic Cosa Nostra in Sicily, to the immensely powerful ‘Ndrangheta in Calabria and trigger-happy Camorra in Naples, Italy’s mafias were “caught on the back foot (by the virus), but are now organising themselves,” Governale said.

The Economist Intelligence Unit said Thursday it expected Italy’s GDP to contract by a colossal seven percent for the year. Italian experts say some 65 percent of Italian small and medium businesses are at risk of bankruptcy.

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