Tag Archives: organized crime

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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Several Italian mafia bosses released from prison over coronavirus fears

Several Italian mafia bosses have been released from prison under a new coronavirus regulation, the country’s national anti-mafia prosecutor said.

Francesco Bonura, an influential boss in the Sicilian Cosa Nostra; Vincenzo Iannazzo, a member of the Ndrangheta; and Pasquale Zagaria, a member of the Casalesi clan, have now been moved to house arrest, according to Federico Cafiero De Raho, Italy’s anti-mafia prosecutor.
To prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus within correctional facilities, the Italian government authorized magistrates to transfer inmates who have 18 months or less in their sentences to house arrest.
Cafiero De Raho said the three men had been held under “extra isolation measures” to avoid contact with people outside the prison because of the roles they had in mafia organizations.
“Once they are sent back home, these measures are obviously no longer enforced,” the prosecutor added.

Why the mafia are taking care of everyone’s business

Organised crime is already giving food parcels to the poor in Italy and Mexico. For the cartels and syndicates, this crisis is an opportunity

Pestilence presents a moment of great opportunity for many businesses.

Consider the speed at which contracts are put out to tender to meet extraordinary needs. Consider the ability to move goods and money without all the normal checks or legal and bureaucratic protocols. Plague is a boon for the commercial class.

The art of profit is based on exploiting need, and no one has perfected that dark art better than organised crime. The Covid-19 pandemic is already demonstrating this. With their usual business acumen, criminal organisations have, in recent decades, invested in a number of companies that have turned out to be very relevant to the present crisis: multi-service businesses (catering, cleaning or disinfection), industrial laundries, transport, funeral homes, waste collection, food distribution – and the health. All of these sectors have become fundamental to our survival over recent weeks, and will probably remain so for a good while.

In Italy, police have already raised the alarm about mafia cartels’ investment in the production and distribution of “epidemic kits”, comprising masks, hand sanitiser and latex gloves. These products are today almost impossible to find, and the sudden overwhelming demand (surely destined to continue over the coming months) has caused prices to skyrocket.

For the Calabrian mafia, the ’ndrangheta, this would be familiar territory: for years it made capital investments in the pharmaceutical and healthcare products sectors. In March 2016, it was revealed that the ’ndrangheta had been working aggressively to establish itself in medical and pharmaceutical industries across Lombardy – which became Italy’s Covid-19 “Ground Zero” – even dispatching cartel operatives and their relatives to qualify in medicine, nursing and pharmacology.

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Mafia distributes food to Italy’s struggling residents

Organised crime groups offer support to quarantined families who have run out of cash

As Italy struggles to pull its economy through the coronavirus crisis, the Mafia is gaining local support by distributing free food to poor families in quarantine who have run out of cash, authorities have warned.

In recent weeks, videos have surfaced of known Mafia gangs delivering essential goods to Italians hit hard by the coronavirus emergency across the poorest southern regions of Campania, Calabria, Sicily and Puglia, as tensions rise across the country.

“For over a month, shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs have been closed,” Nicola Gratteri, antimafia investigator and head of the prosecutor’s office in Catanzaro, told the Guardian. “Millions of people work in the grey economy, which means that they haven’t received any income in more than a month and have no idea when they might return to work. The government is issuing so-called shopping vouchers to support people. If the state doesn’t step in

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