Thursday, March 30, 2006

Drug Cops Foil Mafia Subterfuge

The Daily Record

Underwater cocaine plot

Drug cops have smashed a Mafia plot to smuggle millions of pounds worth of cocaine into Europe on board a submarine.

Details of the amazing plan were released yesterday by Italy's top anti-Mafia investigator, Piero Grasso.

He revealed that an undercover operation in South America had discovered a half-built sub that would have been used to foil radar systems used by coastguards.

Grasso said: "The Mafia planned to use the submarine to ship tons of cocaine from Colombia to Europe.

"They have the money to build such expensive modes of transport.

"They were going to use it to avoid the radar used by the coastguards and navy to catch drug smugglers' ships.

"The submarine has now been impounded but the fact the Mafia were able to order and began building such a vessel shows the huge amount of money they are making from drug dealing."

He explained that a gram of cocaine in Colombia cost just £1.50 while in Europe it is sold for 30 times that amount.

In a joint operation by Colombian and Italian police, the submarine was seized at a shipyard in the town of Tumaco, in the south-east of the South American country.

Officials estimated that it would have been able to transport more than 10 tons of cocaine, with an estimated street value of more than £500million.

In recent years, the Mafia group based in the Calabria region of Italy, known as the Ndrangheta, have made millions from importing drugs from South America.

Experts believe the ruthless gang, who murdered top politician Francesco Fortugno last year and control dozens of corrupt local councils, are now more dangerous than Sicily's feared Cosa Nostra.

Officials estimate that the Mafia's turnover from drug dealing is more than £20billion a year.

By Nick Pisa


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