lunedì 28 aprile 2014

One of Italy's most wanted nabbed in Caribbean

'Ndrangheta suspected of opening new drug traffic channels

(ANSA) - Rome, April 28 - One of the 100 most dangerous fugitives in Italy and an alleged member of the 'Ndrangheta mafia was arrested Monday in Santo Domingo. Nicola Pignatelli, 43, made the list of most dangerous fugitives compiled by the interior ministry because he is thought to be a high-ranking member of the Mazzaferro clan. A fugitive since 2011, Pignatelli had been sentenced to serve 13 years and six months on drug offences before his disappearance.

Police said Pignatelli had completely transformed his appearance and suspect that he was involved in opening new channels for trafficking drugs from central and South America into Europe via the 'Ndrangheta-infiltrated Calabrian port of Gioia Tauro. Authorities are now in the process of extraditing Pignatelli from Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean. Calabria's 'Ndrangheta mafia, once a poor relation of the Sicilian Mafia, has grown in heft and reach due to its dominance of the European cocaine trade, investigators have said.

The 'Ndrangheta has usurped Cosa Nostra as Italy's richest and most powerful crime syndicate with international contacts and activities. It has become a highly sophisticated global network while controlling swathes of its home turf where police fear to tread, Italian officials say. As well as being the richest, the'Ndrangheta is also regarded as the most impenetrable of Italy's mafias, with its close-knit family-based organisation outdoing the Sicilian Mafia in its ability to defeat police efforts to turn members into State witnesses.

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