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Italian caught assembling ring to traffic cocaine to Europe through Malta in coffee bean packages


A drug trafficker wanted by the Italian authorities for his role in a transnational criminal organisation that trafficked notoriously “poor quality” cocaine to Malta and elsewhere was arrested in the resort town of Maspalomas in the Canary Islands, the Spanish National Police said in a statement on Thursday.

The Italian national, who remained unnamed by the Spanish authorities, was reported to be one of the organisation’s “most active members”.

In addition to the previous narcotics trafficking for which he was wanted, the organisation the suspect was leading was also, according to the Spanish National Police, “assembling the necessary infrastructure to distribute drugs throughout Europe, mainly through the Netherlands, Spain and Malta”.

The Spanish police explained that the organisation, “formed by people close to a well-known Italian mafia clan”, had prepared shipments of packages of coffee beans with the cocaine hidden inside.

The Mafia clan mentioned but not named by the Spanish police is the Laudani Clan of Catania.

In making the arrest on Thursday, the Spanish aid they had been following a request from the Italian authorities, who were keen “to locate in Spain one of the most active members of a criminal organization related to drug trafficking” and who had evaded arrest in Italy.

The Spanish police went on to detail how the Italian authorities, back in 2017, had created a plan to stake out the multinational drug deliveries, which, the Spanish police explained, “allowed them to discover who were the true recipients of the shipments and their connections with South America, Germany, Holland and Malta.

“Also, as explained by the Italian judicial authorities, the suspect maintained direct relations with the suppliers in South America, a dangerous organisation that, in addition, distributed cocaine of poor quality.”

The arrest formed part of a Guardia Di Finanza di Messina (Sicily) anti-Mafia operation, carried out simultaneously in Italy, Spain and South America. 

A total of 11 people were arrested earlier this month in Italy as part of crackdown on the branch of the “lucrative”, in the words of the Guardia di Finanza di Messina, cocaine trade between South America and Sicily.

The 2017 operation had been initiated after approximately one kilogram of cocaine had been found at Rome’s Ciampino airport.

Italian judicial investigations revealed the consignment was not a one-off, but, rather, part or a broader, structured operation that was, according to the Italian authorities, “operating in eastern Sicily with branches in Germany, Holland and Malta as well as in South America.”



Photo courtesy of the Spanish National Police

Original article found on The Malta Independent


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