Italy seizes 4 tonnes of cocaine, smashes mafia trafficking ring

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By Steve Scherer ROME, June seventeen (Reuters) - Italian police have seized far more than four tonnes of cocaine really worth one billion euros ($1.thirteen billion) on the street and arrested dozens of folks suspected of working a massive mafia drug trafficking ring, a police formal reported on Wednesday. A court docket in Reggio Calabria - a city on the toe of the Italian boot - had issued an arrest warrant for 34 people today, which include substantial-rating users of a number of Calabrian mafia clans, for global drug trafficking, a assertion claimed. All but two have been arrested, finance police Colonel Mario Palumbo advised Reuters. Spanish officers had been in search of four men and women as part of the very same investigation. Italy's finance police, which has jurisdiction at ports and borders, led the investigation. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) provided intelligence on suppliers and shipments from South The us. "The investigation by the DEA in South The usa recognized many suppliers who were being guarded by commanders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)," a assertion stated, referring to leftist guerrillas in a prolonged-time conflict with Colombia's central govt. Over the training course of eighteen months, more than 4 tonnes of cocaine were seized, of which three tonnes have been located in Italian ports, Palumbo said. Rival mafia clans had joined with each other to import huge quantities of the drug at wholesale selling prices. "They made use of mainly financial institutions in offshore tax havens to fork out for the prescription drugs," he explained, to throw investigators off the cash path. The cocaine was set in huge duffel bags and concealed inside shipping containers, and the mobsters relied on employees of several ports - specially the Calabrian port of Gioia Tauro - to obtain it, Palumbo explained. The Calabrian mafia's role as 1 of Europe's greatest cocaine importers has designed it the most strong financial pressure in its impoverished house region in southern Italy, in accordance to a Full Report by Italian anti-mafia prosecutors previously this year. The bustling narcotics business has propelled the Calabrian mob, identified as the 'Ndrangheta, ahead of Sicily's additional storied Cosa Nostra as Italy's most highly effective organised criminal offense group. ($one = .8870 euros) (Modifying by Mark Heinrich)
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