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Italy, U.S. crack down on mafia drug smuggling

/ 04:46 PM February 11, 2014

Cocaine. AFP FILE PHOTO

MILAN, Italy—A joint Italian-United States anti-Mafia blitz is underway with numerous arrests reported on both sides of the Atlantic.

Italian anti-Mafia police said the “New Bridge” operation targeted a new cocaine trafficking route from South America to the southern Italian port of Gioia Tauro that united the U.S. branch of the Sicilian Mafia with the Calabrian ‘ndrangheta crime syndicate.

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Officials said undercover agents in both countries prevented the delivery to Italy of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine hidden in shipments of coconuts and pineapples during the two-year investigation. They also confiscated heroin and marijuana.

U.S. and Italian authorities were seeking 26 suspects, including a member of the Gambino crime family in New York who authorities said negotiated the new smuggling route.

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Gioia Tauro in Calabria is one of Europe’s largest shipping ports.

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TAGS: drug smuggling, Italy, Mafia, United States, world
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