Italian mafia “foreign minister” busted in Venezuela

Salvatore Miceli, dubbed the “Mafia’s foreign minister,” will be deported to Italy after his capture in Caracas June 21 in a joint operation by Venezuelan and Italian police. Italian authorities charge Miceli worked as a middleman between Italy’s Cosa Nostra and ‘Ndrangheta networks and the Colombian cocaine cartels.

Miceli, 63, was born in Salemi, Sicily, and followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, local Mafia boss Salvatore Zizzo, Italian prosecutors say. In the 1970s, he was allegedly involved in a series of ransom kidnappings that helped fund drug trafficking clans in nearby Trapani. Miceli was arrested in the early 1990s on drug trafficking and Mafia charges, but was later freed while awaiting trial. He went on the run after being convicted in 2001. (AP, June 23; BBC News, June 21)

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