Tag Archives: italy

Italian police break mafia ring exporting fake olive oil to U.S.

By Umberto Bacchi

ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Italian police said they have busted a crime ring exporting fake extra virgin olive oil to the United States, highlighting the mafia’s infiltration of Italy’s famed agriculture and food business.

Twelve people with links to the ‘Ndrangheta, the organized crime group based in the southern Calabria region, were arrested on Tuesday on a series of charges including mafia association and fraud, police said in a statement.

The gang shipped cheap olive pomace oil to the U.S. where it was re-labeled as the more expensive “extra virgin” variety, prized for its rich taste and health benefits, and distributed as such to retail stores in New Jersey, they said.

Italian crime syndicates earned an estimated 16 billion euros ($16.85 billion) in 2015 through illegal activities in the agriculture sector, up from 15 billions in 2014, according to Italy’s agricultural association, Coldiretti.

Besides counterfeiting products, gangs make money seizing control of farmland and firms, fixing prices, controlling distribution and through labor exploitation, studies say.

In 2015, crime groups forced more than 100,000 Italians and migrants to work long hours for little pay in fields across the country, according to a report by Italian General Confederation of Labor union (CGIL).

Read Full – http://www.reuters.com/article/us-italy-crime-food-idUSKBN1602BD

Italian police busted a mafia group trying to smuggle over a billion dollars’ worth of cocaine into Europe

Italian anti-mafia police said they busted an international drug ring and arrested 54 people with ties to notorious mafia group ‘Ndrangheta attempting to smuggle cocaine with a street value of $1.7 billion into Europe.

While the ‘Ndrangheta is based in the southern Calabria region, the 54 people arrested were detained in different parts of Italy, the country’s authorities said, according to Reuters.

The group was allegedly conspiring to import about 8 metric tons, or 17,637 pounds, of cocaine from Colombia into Europe via seaports and airports in Calabria, which is at the southern tip of the Italian mainland.

Read Full Article – http://www.businessinsider.com/italy-cocaine-bust-drug-trafficking-ndrangheta-mafia-2017-1

Italy’s anti-mafia squad in overdrive as asylum seekers flood into Europe


Italy’s investigators are ramping up their efforts to stop organised criminal gangs — including the mafia — from smuggling people into the country, in the face of record asylum seeker arrivals.

The number of people who made the hazardous boat journey across Mediterranean Sea from Africa to Italy increased by 17 per cent in 2016.

A record-breaking 180,746 people arrived in the Italian regions of Sicily, Calabria, Apulia and Campania, up from 153,842 in 2015.

Dr Gery Ferrara — the lead anti-mafia prosecutor responsible for investigating the criminal networks that smuggle people to Italy — said authorities started tracking people smugglers as soon as asylum seekers disembarked.

Full Read – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-02/asylum-seekers-flood-into-italy/8157396

Cash-strapped Italian Mafia cuts spending on drug pushers and family support

On the streets of Rome crime doesn’t pay – or at least not like it once did.

One of the city’s most feared local mafia clans has been forced to cut spending after 37 of its alleged members were arrested by police in recent raids.

The Cordaro clan has cut daily payments to drug pushers and financial aid for jailed members and their families, according to prosecutors involved in the latest chapter of Rome’s ‘Mafia Capitale’ investigation.

The clan, known for its violent domination of Rome’s Tor Bella Monaca district, has been linked to several murders and major drug trafficking by police and prosecutors.

Disgruntled associates have been recorded by police complaining about cutbacks ordered by Natasha Cordaro, who took over the clan’s financial operations after her husband, Valentino Iuliano, was arrested on July 5.

Thirty-year-old Cordaro began by cutting clan payments to the families of jailed members from €150 a week to only €50 a week, according to the Italian daily, Il Messaggero.

“€150 plus 150 makes €300 a fortnight,” Michela Bucceri complained on a visit to her jailed mother, Elena, in a telephone tap recorded by police. “I am missing out on €200, they have taken it off me.”

Cordaro also cut daily payments from €80 to €70 per day to drug pushers who work for the clan in the crime-ridden neighborhood on the city’s outskirts.

“I have responsibilities,” Cordaro reportedly told pushers. “I am counting on €3,000 but you are only bringing me €900, what should I do? I have 15 families I’m carrying on my shoulders.”

She was recorded threatening one subordinate who complained.

“It is a crisis, it’s better you realise that. If not I will cut your throat,” she said.

Thirty-seven alleged members of the clan were arrested in dawn raids in the crime-ridden neighbourhood on July 5.

Read Full – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/25/cash-strapped-italian-mafia-cuts-spending-on-police-bribes/

Italian police arrest 2 fugitive Mafia bosses in underground bunker

Updated 9:31 AM ET, Sat January 30, 2016

(CNN) After eluding capture for years, two Mafia bosses have been arrested in an underground bunker in southern Italy.

Police seized mobsters Giuseppe Ferraro, 47, and Giuseppe Crea, 37, in Calabria region Friday, according to Italian news agency Ansa.

Ferraro was found guilty of murder and Mafia association decades ago, and had been a fugitive since 1998.

Crea was convicted of Mafia association and had been on the run for nine years, according to the news agency.

Their hideout had an array of weapons, including rifles, pistols and machine guns.

“Today is another great day for everyone and for the country because justice has won,” Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said after their arrest.

Beyond Italian borders

The two men are part of ‘Ndrangheta, a dangerous criminal organization that has tentacles worldwide. The group is based in Calabria, where the two men were arrested.

‘Ndrangheta’s power has grown beyond Italian borders.

Two years ago, Italian officials said the group is linked to drug trafficking in South and Central America, Canada and the United States.

The ‘Ndrangheta was formed in the 1860s, and is involved in kidnappings, corruption, drug trafficking, gambling and murders, according to the FBI.

It has between 100-200 members in the United States, mostly in New York and Florida.

Full Article – http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/30/europe/italy-mafia-arrests/