99 arrested in international drugs bust in Italy

Rome, Sep 20 (AKI) Italian police in the northern city of Brescia on Tuesday arrested 99 people in an operation that smashed a major Greek-Albanian cartel supplying Italian mafia organisations with drugs.

Finance police seized some five tonnes of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and hashish in raids, as well as assets worth over a million euros including cash, vehicles and boats.

Five crime gangs were targeted in the operation and four of the suspects were detained in Greece, Belgium and Albania on European arrest warrants, police said.

The drugs were smuggled in to Italy from Spain and the Netherlands aboard food trucks operated by road haulage firms set up by the drug traffickers in Belgium, Greece and Bulgaria, according to police.

Marijuana grown in Albania reached the Italian coast on speedboats or fishing vessels and was delivered around the country by large camper vans and orange trucks, said police.

Albanian mobsters sold their narcotics to Italian clans with links to the Naples mafia or Camorra, to the Sacra Corona Unita in the Puglia region and to the Calabrian mafia or ‘Ndrangheta, according to Italian officials.

The probe began in 2012 when investigators monitored the illegal drugs market in Brescia.

–IANS

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