Category Archives: Organized Crime

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Inside the Sinaloa Cartel’s Move Toward Europe

Police agencies have long known that Mexican drug cartels help supply Europe’s nearly US$10 billion annual cocaine habit, but acknowledge they have little idea about the workings of these highly organized and well-financed operations.

But now, a recent Italian police investigation, code-named Operation Halcon, has provided the most in-depth look yet into how Mexico’s leading drug traffickers, the Sinaloa Cartel, do business in Europe. IrpiMedia, OCCRP’s Italian partner, obtained access to police files and surveillance reports that show the cartel’s methods in unprecedented detail.About This ReportThis article was produced in collaboration with “The Cartel Project,” an investigation coordinated by Paris-based Forbidden Stories. It involves 60 journalists from 25 organizations in 18 countries and involves various aspects of Mexican cartel violence, including the murders of journalists in Veracruz state. Forbidden Stories is a nonprofit group dedicated to continuing the work of journalists silenced by homicide.Read more

Operation Halcon started in early 2019, at a time when Europe was being flooded with cocaine from Latin America. The Sinaloa Cartel, a global leader in cocaine sales with operations in at least 50 countries, was looking for new routes into Italy as a way to

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Biggest mafia trial in 30 years sees 350 mobsters and corrupt politicians packed into call centre converted into court

SECRETS of Italy’s richest mafia are about to be revealed as hundreds of suspected gangsters are to face justice in the biggest mob trial in more than 30 years.

Alleged members of the ‘NDrangheta – including corrupt politicians – will be locked in cages during hearings, due to take place at a huge call centre in Calabria that has been converted into a courtroom.

It will now seat almost 1,000 lawyers, judges, prosecutors and spectators taking part in the trial which will expose the inner workings of Italy’s most secretive mafia – due to start on Wednesday.

Investigators will reveal 24,000 wiretaps and bugged conversations to back up charges of murder, extortion and drug dealing.

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Italian mafia sees German justice system as ‘a joke’

The Italian mafia has hundreds of members in Germany pulling strings in the international drug trade. The latest major trial shows how lengthy legal procedures and lenient verdicts are no match for organized crime.

Fourteen defendants face an array of charges in court in the western German city of Düsseldorf, and the main ones pertain to the trafficking and sale of cocaine. Well over half a ton of cocaine: 680 kilograms (1,499 pounds) all told, being sold at prices of up to €36,000 (roughly $43,000) per kilo.

Five are suspected members of the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta syndicate and all 14 reside in Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). Their passports reveal NRW’s ‘Ndrangheta as an international employer: Italian, German, Dutch, Turkish, Moroccan, Portuguese. Translators from Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey are on hand in court.

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Federal Judge Denies Cali Drug Cartel Kingpin Early Release

A Miami federal judge has denied an early release from prison for one of the kingpins of the Cali drug cartel, ruling that his health and the threat of the COVID-19 coronavirus are not sufficient grounds to end his incarceration. The decision from U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno means that Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela, an 81-year-old former leader of the Cali cartel, will continue to serve his 30-year sentence at a federal penitentiary in North Carolina.

Rodriguez Orejuela and his brother Miguel, former leaders of the infamous Cali drug cartel, pleaded guilty in 2006 to trafficking more than 200 tons of cocaine from Colombia to the United States during the 1980s and ‘90s. The brothers reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors in Miami that allowed dozens of family members to avoid prosecution for money laundering and obstruction of justice charges as part of the agreement.

Rodriquez Orejuela’s attorney had filed a petition with the court requesting early release for his client on compassionate grounds. Attorney David O. Markus argued that Rodriquez Orejuela’s medical history, which includes colon cancer, prostate cancer, two heart attacks, high blood pressure, skin cancer, gout, chronic anxiety and depression, qualified him for compassionate release. Markus also cited media accounts of the threat that the COVID-19 poses to prison inmates as cause to let him out of prison.

“Because there were already sufficient reasons to release him, this crisis gives the court further reasons to grant his motion,” he said.

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Mafia confessions: Why mob forgave one criminal who snitched on the notorious organisation

MAFIA bosses were revealed to have forgiven a criminal who snitched on the notorious outfit after successfully conducting the largest cash robbery in American history.

Henry Hill turned from criminal to police witness shortly after the now-infamous ‘Lufthansa Heist’ on December 11, 1978.

The Mafia were tipped-off about a large sum of cash that would be flown into John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK), by an airport worker who owed one of their associates more than $20,000 (£16,000) in gambling debts.

Ms Otwary revealed Henry Hill and his crew stepped-up to the challenge in a bid to “impress their overlords”.

He told Express.co.uk: “Being that he was half-Irish and half-Italian, he didn’t qualify to become a ‘made man’ that would be protected within the structure of Italian or Sicilian Italian organised crime.”

On the day of the heist, the small-time thugs arrived at JFK around 3am to commit what would become the largest cash robbery in US history and after that one of the longest-investigated crimes.

Six men covered with balaclavas took multiple Lufthansa airline workers hostage as part of the operation and pistol-whipped one who tried to raise the alarm.

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