Home Law Enforcement I-CAN Global Anti- Mafia Operation: Fugitives Arrested

I-CAN Global Anti- Mafia Operation: Fugitives Arrested

The coordination via the INTERPOL Cooperation against the “‘Ndrangheta (I-CAN) project” which is an INTERPOL and Italian initiative, has experienced that the law enforcement has grabbed six fugitives in places like Argentina, Albania and Costa Rica. All this took place following the intelligence that has been gained in an earlier operation targeting the ‘Ndrangheta back in November 2019.

Another operation was launched last year by the name “Operation Magma 2007” that targeted the individuals eager to be associated with the ‘Ndrangheta, along with the drug trafficking and the possession of illicit weapons. The operation was conducted by the Guardia di Finanza and Direzione Centrale Servizi Antidroga of Italy and has been coordinated by the Direzione Distrettuale Antimafia in Reggio Calabria. The operation had resulted in the arrest of the 45 Italian suspects. The search for the ‘Ndrangheta fugitives who are linked to those arrested in the last year’s operation as mentioned, was led by the Central Directorate of the Criminal Police of Italy utilizing the channels of INTERPOL, under the I-CAN Project. This has enabled the rapid exchange of the intelligence between law enforcement in the countries involved and Italy’s specialized anti-mafia police units.

‘Ndrangheta Clan Dismantled Along With 400 Kg of Cocaine

On the 21st of July, three of the fugitives had been arrested in Buenos Aires. Simultaneously, an operation in the Torana, Albania has led to the capture of a ‘Ndrangheta-linked fugitive, who is considered to be the fourth one. On the following day, a fifth fugitive had been arrested in Costa Rica. Another fugitive, considered to be the sixth one having avoided the Operation Magma 2007 capture was arrested last May in Albania.

The combine operations totalled 15 kg of marijuana, 30 kg of hashish, 400 kg of cocaine, three semi-automatic pistols, an automatic assault rifle, ammunition of various calibres and a silencer.

The operations and the investigations have enabled the police to completely dismantle the ‘Bellocco’ ‘Ndrangheta family clan in Rosarno (Reggio Calabria) and its regional branches. They were also successful in arresting all of the top members of the family that has been operating across Italy.

The Bellocco clan was endowed with considerable financial resources and was vigorously involved in the import of South American cocaine in Italy by boat, particularly from Costa Rica and Argentina. To do this, the group had depended on the emissaries who travelled frequently between the supplier countries and Bellocco clan’s Calabrian base.

These fugitives were targeted as a part of the Chief Prosecutor of Reggio Calabria’s determination in the bid to bring to the trial ‘Ndrangheta suspects, who had attempted to avoid justice as they fled abroad.

i-can-project-interpol
Image: Interpol

What The Cops And Other Law Bodies Have Informed

“This operation is a testament to the need for a global approach to the widespread criminal activities of the ‘Ndrangheta and showcases the level of international police cooperation, facilities and INTERPOL support that can be achieved thanks to the I-CAN project,” said Prefect Rizzi, Deputy Director General of Public Security at Italy’s Central Directorate of the Criminal Police.

“The ‘Ndrangheta represents a threat that has silently polluted the economy of more than 30 countries around the world. The only way it can be countered is through a more powerful global network,” Prefect Rizzi added.

“This operation, just months after the launch of I-CAN, is only the beginning of the global law enforcement response to tackle one of the most extensive and powerful criminal organizations in the world,’ said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.

‘Whilst the ‘Ndrangheta is an almost invisible threat, these coordinated arrests more than 10,000 km apart, help bring their illicit activities into the light, demonstrating the critical importance of international police cooperation,” added the INTERPOL Chief.

“My office is totally committed to fighting ‘Ndrangheta organizations, even beyond national borders, in collaboration with all judicial and police authorities, as was the case in this operation,” said Chief Prosecutor of Reggio Calabria Giovanni Bombardieri.

“I would like to thank INTERPOL for their great efforts within the I-CAN project to assist our national investigators.”

The Series of Arrests

Buenos Aires

The Argentine Federal Police, the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) in Buenos Aires and the Argentine National Gendarmerie had supported the following arrests in Buenos Aires as coordinated by The Argentine Procuraduría de Narcocriminalidad:

  • Fabio Pompetti, who is an Argentine national, due to his local relationships network, was successful in circumventing the anti-money laundering systems and avoid the customs controls. He has worked as a South American drug suppliers representative to the Ndrangheta.
  • Ferdinando Sarago, who is a courier and a trusted associate of the ‘Ndrangheta, had moved between Calabria and South America. The ‘Ndrangheta had often sought help from Sarago to transport secret documents and for various other operational needs. He has also met Carmelo Aglioti (one of the 45 suspects arrested in November) in Argentina owing to a trip that was aimed at resolving a failure to import various drugs on behalf of the Bellocco and Pesce families, both part of the ‘Ndrangheta.
  • Giovanni Di Pietro, who is also known as Massimo Pertini, was a resident of Buenos Aires and acted as a key broker in the dealings between the South American drug suppliers and the Italian ‘Ndrangheta gangs. Back in 1978, he was involved in the kidnapping of Franz Trovato, who happens to be the son of a local industrialist in Acireale of Italy that ended in the death of the boy after he had tried to escape following the 21 days of jail.

i-can-project
Image: Interpol

Albania

The State Police in Albania had been supported by the INTERPOL NCB in Tirana and had coordinated the arrest of Bujar Sejdinaj, who had been referred to as “The Uncle”. As a part of the Bellocco family’s of ‘Ndrangheta’s outpost in the Balkans, Sejdinaj had purchased nearly 20 kg of cocaine in Spain.

The fifth fugitive, Adrian Cekini was arrested in Elbasan of Albania on the 26th of May owing to Operation Magma 2007.

Costa Rica

On the 22nd of July, members of the INTERPOL NCB in San Jose had arrested Franco D’Agapiti in Jacó. The fugitive was born in Rome and co-owned the Hotel Casino Amapola in San Josè, who was suspected of settling in the country to serve as a representative of the Bellocco clan. He was performing the role of a facilitator who used to provide the entry of Cocaine into Italy, taking help from his overseas network and as well as the hotel to provide logistic support to visiting people of the ‘Ndranghetisti clan.

The I-CAN project constitutes 11 pilot countries viz, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, United States and Uruguay.

Source: Interpol


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Aadvik Perry
Aadvik Perry covers law enforcement and crimes from San Francisco for The New York Times. Before joining The Times he was a reporter at The Los Angeles Times and The Forward. Aadvik is one of the top contributors of Dark Web Links.

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