In the end of last month, the operation „Two Seas” came to a successful end exposing a multicontinental drug trafficking ring. The Colombian, Italian and US collaboration resulted in the seizure of 11 tons of cocaine with an estimate worth of $3.3 billion. The cocaine smuggling operation from Colombia to Europe was allegedly lead by Franco and Giuseppe Cosimo Monteleone who are said to be ‘Ndrangheta members with the help of local organized crime groups:National Liberation Army (ELN) and bandas criminals known as BACRIM. Each of the aforementioned organization was essential on the operational level and had its own role in the smuggling procedure: the former provided security for drug labs and smuggling routes to the latter that controlled the sea departure points where drugs were hidden in shipments of tropical fruit.
The ‘Ndrangheta is believed to be present in 30 countries with 60 000 members worldwide. It is estimated that the group controls up to 80 percent of Europe’s cocaine traffic. The presence of ‘Ndrangheta in South America is no surprise to the police. Thee Calabrian mafia is present in many Latin America countries (Columbia and Argentina to name few) due to the strong Italian minorities’ groups observed in these states.
“The ‘Ndrangheta has become global, [but] the instruments to fight it have remained national,” Antonio Nicaso, an expert on the calabrian mafia, concluded. Even though that Italy, thanks to the law from 1994, can penalize any kind of relations with mafia, with mafia being an international phenomenon, it is not enough. These Italian provisions do not override different european national laws, thus it can be simply not feasible to arrest a suspected organized group member in a country different than Italy. In 2013, it was estimated that ’Ndrangheta earned $60 billion. To picture the magnitude of aforementioned revenue- $60 billion is more than the combined revenues of McDonald’s and Deutsche Bank. That’s 3,5 percent of Italy’s GDP.