Calabrian connection in Brazil narco busts


Brazilian police on Sept. 18 arrested a man accused as a leader of the notorious First Capital Command drug gang, who was named as a top contact in South America of southern Italy’s ‘Ndrangheta crime network. Andre de Oliveira Macedo AKA “Andre do Rap,” detained in Sao Paolo in an operation that included US DEA agents, is said to have overseen massive cocaine exports to Europe via Italy’s southern region of Calabria. (Gazzetta del Sud, Calabria, Sept. 18) In July, police arrested two Italian nationals at a luxury seaside apartment in Sao Paulo state, who were also said to be ‘Ndrangheta operatives. Nicola Assisi and his son were held in an undisclosed location to await extradition to Italy. A month earlier, accused top ‘Ndrangheta figure Rocco Morabito escaped from a prison in Uruguay‚ÄĒangering Rome, which had been awaiting his extradition. (The Local, Italy, July 9)

The ‘Ndrangheta is now thought to traffic much of Europe’s cocaine trade through Calabria, using Bitcoin to launder payments. Last December,¬†90 supposed operatives of the network¬†were arrested in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Colombia. Italy’s press warned of the emergence of a “global ‘Ndrangheta.”¬†(Gazzetta del Sud, Dec. 5, 2018)

Map:¬†Perry-Casta√Īeda Library Map Collection

  1. Italy targets ‘Ndrangheta in mass trial

    One of Italy’s largest-ever mafia trials kicked off this week, with more than 320 suspected mobsters and their associates facing an array of charges, including extortion, drug trafficking and theft. The case targets the ‘Ndrangheta, based in Calabria and considered the most powerful crime group in the country, easily eclipsing the more famous Cosa Nostra in Sicily.

    The trial is being held in a converted call-center in the Calabrian city of Lamezia Terme, with defendants placed in metal cages and rows of desks set up for the hundreds of lawyers, prosecutors, journalists and spectators expected to attend. Many of the accused are white-collar workers, including lawyers, accountants, businessmen, local politicians and police officers. The state will call on 913 witnesses and draw on 24,000 hours of intercepted conversations to support the myriad charges. 

    The last time Italy tried hundreds of alleged mafiosi simultaneously was in 1986 in Palermo in a case that represented a turning point in the fight against the Cosa Nostra. That trial had a huge impact because it targeted numerous mob families.

    The Calabrian trial, in contrast, focuses primarily on one group‚ÄĒthe Mancuso clan from the province of Vibo Valentia‚ÄĒleaving much of the ‘Ndrangheta’s top hierarchy untouched. (CNN)