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Powerful crime syndicate in Italy busted trying to smuggle $1.7 Billion in cocaine from South America

January 26, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Powerful crime syndicate in Italy busted trying to smuggle $1.7 Billion in cocaine from South America

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Anti-organized crime authorities in Italy announced the bust of an international drug organization and arrested 54 people associated with the powerful ‘Ndrangheta mafia syndicate who were attempting to smuggle cocaine into Europe that had an estimated street value of $1.7 billion.

Although ‘Ndrangheta is managed out of the southern Calabria, the 54 individuals who were apprehended were arrested in different parts of the country, according to Italian authorities.

The organization was reportedly plotting to import about eight metric tons, or 17,637 pounds, of cocaine from Colombia into Europe through airports and seaports in Calabria, which sits on the southern tip of the mainland in Italy.

The drug smuggling attempt was intercepted at a plantation in Colombia, near the port of Turbo in the Carribean. The Italian newspaper La Repubblica, referred to the bust as “the largest drug seizure in Italian history of combatting drug trafficking.”

Italian authorities arrest member of international drug trafficking network

A “test run” of 139 pounds of cocaine was found concealed in a shipment of bananas in the central Italian port of Livorno.

The ‘Ndrangheta is extremely active in the drug business, and the group has extensive links to drug traffickers and criminal cartel groups throughout Latin America.

At the end of 2016, the Italian criminal group was linked to a smuggling attempt that failed when police discovered 17 waterproof bags filled with 850 pounds of cocaine worth $84 million floating in the water near Gioia Tauro, located just off the tip of Italy’s boot.

Cocaine intercepted by Italian police in the bust of an international trafficking ring. Italian Guardia di Finanza

A notable portion of the cocaine leaving the Andean region of South America, the world’s primary center of cocaine production, departs from Brazil — 80% of the cocaine that enters Europe leaves through the Santos Port in Brazil.

However, Colombia, which manufactures the most cocaine across the world, is also a major departure point for cocaine.

The area around Turbo, where the ‘Ndrangheta’s purported cocaine haul was intercepted, was the site of what was referred to as Colombia’s largest cocaine seizure in history, where 8 metric tons of the drug worth $240 million was found on a banana plantation near the port city.

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