'Ndrangheta arrests: Italian and US police bust 'cocaine smuggling network run by the Mafia'

The Calabrian crime syndicate is thought to be seeking to build new ties with American organised crime groups, as well as reviving old ones

Italian police said that in operations conducted with U.S. FBI agents they have dismantled a major drug trafficking ring
Italian police said that in operations conducted with U.S. FBI agents they have dismantled a major drug trafficking ring

The international reach of the 'Ndrangheta mafia has been dramatically underlined by the arrests of more than a dozen people in New York and southern Italy who are suspected of running a cocaine-trafficking operation for the crime syndicate between Europe, the United States and South America.

Police held 13 people in the region of Calabria, the crime group’s base in Italy. The arrests follow that of a Calabrian-born man who ran the “Cucino A Modo Mio” (I Cook My Way) pizzeria in the Queens borough of New York, together with his wife and son, in March. They were held on suspicion of smuggling cocaine into the US.

Investigators believe the restaurant owner, Gregorio Gigliotti, was 'Ndrangheta’s go-between with New York’s Genovese crime family. ‘Ndrangheta is thought to be seeking to build new ties with American organised crime groups, as well as reviving old ones.

As part of the probe, co-ordinated by Italian prosecutors, 30 people have been placed under investigation.

Investigators say the ring had its operating base in Gigliotti’s pizzeria and that it arranged for cocaine to be smuggled out of central America in containers containing tropical fruit and tubers.

More than $100,000, six pistols and a shotgun were seized during Gigliotti’s arrest. Gigliotti is said to have pled not guilty to importing cocaine.

FBI agents seized two shipments of cocaine totalling 60kg at the east coast ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia in October and December 2014. Also last year, more than three tons of cocaine were seized in Spain and the Netherlands hidden in cassava, say Italian police. The same smuggling ring was thought to be behind that haul.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in