The reputed leader of a Camorra-linked mafia clan that allegedly controls the Milan drug trade has been murdered just three days after his brother and driver were shot dead in the city’s grim Quarto Oggiaro district.
Authorities fear a full scale mob war could be underway in Italy’s second-largest city after Pasquale Tatone was hit by at least five 12-gauge shotgun rounds while sitting in a blue Ford Fiesta late yesterday evening.
According to witness reports, the killers wore full-face crash helmets as they rode a scooter to a bar and pizzeria that has been extensively linked to the Tatone clan, on a small road between Via Pascarella and Via Trilussa in the city’s northern-western suburbs.
Upon spotting Pasquale Tatone sitting in the Fiesta outside the closed restaurant, the assassins opened fire with a shotgun before speeding off.
One line of investigation is that Tatone may have been lured to the scene by a friend or ally who was surreptitiously working with a rival drug gang.
Close relatives said that shortly after eating dinner with his family, Tatone told them he had to immediately leave to meet a friend in a bar – although he reportedly did not say who with or where the meeting was to be held.
The unidentified relatives went on to say that the next they heard of Pasquale was a phone call telling them he’d been shot dead.
According to Milan’s Il Giorno newspaper, the Ford Fiesta in which Tatone was killed is registered to an Egyptian national with an extensive Italian criminal record for burglary, robbery and damage to property.
Pasquale Tatone’s murder comes just three days after the double killing of his brother and former clan boss Emanuele, and of the driver Paolo Simone.
Authorities once considered 52-year-old Emanuele Tatone to be a major player in international drug trafficking circles, but it is believed that his own narcotic dependence led him to step down as head of the clan in favour of his brother.
Police also considered the slain driver Paolo Simone to be a prominent figure in the clan, but with considerably less authority than the Tatone brothers.
Investigators are currently struggling to work out who ordered the killings, with the initial assumption being that Emanuele was killed as part of a low-key feud among local drug addicts.
The assassination of Pasquale Tatone suggests a significantly more powerful force behind the murders however, and police are bracing themselves for potential further mob-related incidents over the coming days.
The Tatone mafia family originates from the province of Caserta, near Naples in Campania – a well-known base for members of the local Camorra mafia.
The Tatone family are said to be linked to the Casalesi clan in that area – one of the Camorra’s most powerful crime groups that dominate the construction industry in and around the towns immediately north of Naples.
Like Italy’s largest mafia organisation, the Calabrian ’Ndrangheta – and to a lesser extent Sicily’s famous Cosa Nostra - Camorristi have a long history of establishing outposts in cities well away from their southern Italian bases.
Last year, US President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on the Camorra as one of four key international organised crime groups. The others listed were the Brothers' Circle from Russia, Japan’s Yakuza, and Los Zetas from Mexico.