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Monday, 15 December 2008

Sicily's Mafia was still heavily involved in the drugs trade.

19:10 |

Italian police on Monday made a major narcotics bust they said showed that Sicily's Mafia was still heavily involved in the drugs trade.In recent years there has been a slew of reports claiming the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta has largely taken over the European cocaine trade from its elder sister in Sicily.But the results of Monday's operation contradicted this, said the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's transnational crime envoy, Carlo Vizzini.''This operation shows that Cosa Nostra is still a major player in drugs,'' said Vizzini, who is also a member of Italy's parliamentary anti-Mafia commission.''Police have caught old and new Mafiosi in this together. Leopards can't change their spots''.''Sicily is becoming, once again, a key cross-roads for the international drugs trade''.Vizzini said the Mafia had ''once again'' shown its transnational nature.He called for ''new norms'' to combat money laundering.Palermo Anti-Mafia investigator Antonio Ingrao said the operation showed that ''the activities of Sicilian crime organisations are increasingly projected towards international horizons''.He said the drugs business, ''today, more than ever, has a strategic role because it allows criminals from different countries to work together''.At least one major boss was implicated in the bust, in which 25 people were arrested, police said.The gang allegedly flew in the drugs in from Argentina via airports in Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam and London, where it was gathered, flown on to Milan and sent down to Palermo by train.The traffickers used airports where they thought controls were easier to trick, police said.French police were involved in Monday's operation, which also netted thousands of euros in counterfeit bills.

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