Elaborate sting targets notorious Colombian cartel as Italian police seize 4.3 tons of cocaine in one of Europe’s largest drug busts ever

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Italian brokers on Tuesday confiscated 4.3 tons of cocaine with a avenue worth of practically a quarter-billion euros ({dollars}) within the northeastern port metropolis of Trieste, dealing a blow to Colombia’s feared Gulf Clan drug cartel in one of many largest drug busts ever in Europe.

Arrest warrants had been being executed for 38 folks on suspicion of worldwide drug trafficking in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Colombia. The seizure was carried out by Italian monetary police and coordinated by anti-mafia investigators, following a yearlong investigation that additionally concerned U.S. Homeland Safety.

The undercover operation dealt “one other robust blow to one of the vital vital teams of Colombian narcos,” anti-mafia investigators mentioned in an announcement.

Italian police hit Colombian drug gang, seize tonnes of cocaine
Members of the Guardia di Finanza (finance police) take cocaine from luggage that had been seized from a van as a part of a world investigation of the Colombian Clan del Golfo medication gang, on this screengrab taken from a video launched on June 7, 2022, in Rome, Italy. 

GUARDIA DI FINANZA PRESS OFFICE


Final month, the Gulf Clan’s alleged boss was extradited from Colombia to america. Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, higher identified by the alias Otoniel, faces U.S. indictments in three federal courts. The Gulf Clan drug cartel shut down dozens of towns in northern Colombia for 4 days in response to the extradition.

Colombian President Iván Duque on the time of the extradition in contrast Otoniel to Pablo Escobar, the late former head of the Medellin drug cartel, calling him “the most dangerous drug trafficker in the world.” The previous rural warlord had stayed on the run for greater than a decade by corrupting state officers and aligning himself with combatants on the left and proper.

He had been seized at his hideout in an operation involving a whole lot of troopers. The U.S. had positioned a $5 million bounty on his head.

Authorities in Italy estimate that felony teams paid 96 million euros ($102 million) for the cocaine, which might have been value 240 million euros on the Italian market. Undercover brokers infiltrated the drug smuggling chain, which operated within the northern areas of Veneto and Lombardy, the Lazio area together with Rome and the southern area of Calabria on the tip of Italy’s boot.

Italian police hit Colombian drug gang, seize tonnes of cocaine
Seized cocaine wrapped in clingfilm is pictured as a part of a world investigation of the Colombian Clan del Golfo medication gang, on this screengrab taken from a video launched on June 7, 2022, in an unspecified location, Italy. 

GUARDIA DI FINANZA PRESS OFFICE


In the course of the investigation, undercover brokers had been concerned in 19 “managed deliveries,” which led to the identification of key traffickers each on the middleman and worldwide ranges.

Together with the drug, brokers additionally seized 1.8 million euros in money in addition to automobiles allegedly used for trafficking, together with a big-rig truck.

In keeping with the U.S. State Department, the Gulf Clan “makes use of violence and intimidation to manage the narcotics trafficking routes, cocaine processing laboratories, speedboat departure factors, and clandestine touchdown strips.”

“The group operates in 13 of Colombia’s 32 departments, most of that are within the northwestern a part of the nation,” the State Division mentioned. “Throughout a turf struggle with a rival felony group for drug trafficking routes, homicides shot up 443% over two years.”



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