Hot chocolate: Did a Mafia drug network smuggle tonnes of stolen Lindor into Canada?



ROME – A Mafia drug-smuggling network moved millions of dollars worth of stolen Lindt chocolate across Europe and into Canada, Italian prosecutors say.

About $17.6 million worth of wrapped Lindor chocolate balls were stolen from a transport hub near Lodi in Italy between April and August 2014.

But the thieves were stuck with the logistical problem of how to move the 175 tonnes of illicit treats.

So they reached out to a flower-seller previously busted with drug trafficking. He in turn got in touch with his friend, Mob boss Vincenzo Crupi, according to transcripts of conversations contained in court documents.

When Dutch police raided Crupi’s Fresh BV offices in March of last year, they found chocolate stored there, but did not let on that they suspected it had been stolen.

Instead, they watched.

In December, as a truck left Fresh BV carrying some 15 tonnes of the stolen chocolate, police stepped in.

A further 20 tonnes of chocolate were seized south of Rome.

Investigators also say refrigerated containers carrying 25 pallets of the stolen Lindt chocolate were sent to Canada.

Giuseppe Belcastro, one of Crupi’s lawyers, said his client denies having tried to sell stolen goods. The case is still under investigation and no trial has yet been sought.

Lindt & Sprungli, the maker of the chocolate balls, confirmed the theft when it happened, but had no comment on the continuing investigation.

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