THE Sicilian Mafia has been overtaken by much more ruthless gangs in South America and Japanese Europe bringing bloodshed and distress to the UK, consultants have claimed.

With the arrest of prime Sicilian mobster Matteo Messina Denaro, many have proclaimed this as proof of the downfall of the infamous Cosa Nostra.


The Cosa Nostra had ties to the lethal US mob familiesCredit: Alamy


The facility of the mob was damaged by the Fee Trial and the RICO ActCredit: Alamy


In Sicily, cops have been waging a 30-year battle with the Cosa NostraCredit: Letizia Battaglia/Cohen Media Group

The diminished standing of Sicily’s mafia, as soon as one of many world’s most notorious legal organisations, is basically right down to a 30-year effort by authorities on the Italian island to choose aside their energy networks, saving the island from turning into what one skilled referred to as a “narco-state”.

One other key issue behind Cosa Nostra’s decline is the work of US prosecutors to take down the 5 Households, the Italian American Mafia teams that ran a lot of the organised crime in New York.

The Sicilian mafia had far nearer ties to the US mob than different main mafia teams, together with the ‘Ndranghetta in Calabria, and the Camorra in Naples.

Chatting with The Solar On-line, John Dickie, professor of Italian at UCL and creator of the e book  “Cosa Nostra: A Historical past of the Sicilian Mafia”, defined the hyperlinks between the Sicilian and US mafias.

He mentioned: “The Sicilian mafia had one thing that the others did not, a trans-Atlantic bridge.”

These ties have been largely damaged by the enforcement of the RICO Act and the Fee Trial, which resulted in eight senior mobsters happening for 100 years in jail every.

An identical trial in Italy, the Maxi Trial, was held in Palermo, Sicily, in a particular concrete bunker related to a jail constructed particularly for the circumstances.

It noticed 338 gangsters, together with 19 main mafia bosses, sentenced to a complete of two,665 years in jail in 1992.

John went on: “A technology in the past when Denaro went on the run, western Sicily was ‘hostile territory’ for the Italian state.

“The mafia had given itself the best to kill anybody with impunity and to take its extortion tax from any financial exercise, whether or not authorized or unlawful. The mafia was a shadow state.

“During the last 30 years, the Italian state has slowly gained again floor.”

However right now, 30 years on from these verdicts, consultants have warned that there’s extra cocaine on the planet than ever earlier than, with the drug commerce bringing ever extra violence and distress to the streets of the UK.

A part of that is believed to be right down to the likes of the Sicilian mafia being usurped by extra brutal gangs in Colombia and Japanese Europe.

Nonetheless, talking to The Solar On-line, creator and journalist Toby Muse warned towards any romanticising of the Italian mafia.

Toby, who spent 10 years dwelling among the many feared Colombian cartel the Clan del Golfo, mentioned: “The mafia likes to painting itself as like ‘The Godfather’ and declare it had guidelines. In actuality, they seem to be a bunch of snitching crooks.”

The British-born author behind the e book “Kilo: Contained in the Deadliest Cocaine Cartels”, defined how the Colombian cartels emerged as a brand new, deadlier pressure within the Nineteen Seventies and 80s, transporting medicine to Europe and america in beforehand unheard-of portions.

He mentioned: “When the Colombian cartels arrange their connects within the Nineteen Seventies and 80s, there was no actual overlap with the mafia.

“They created their very own market, which was promoting cocaine.”

Essentially the most infamous of those, the Clan del Golfo, also called the Los Urabenos cartel, emerged out of the far-right demise squads which sprang up in response to the lawlessness within the nation within the Nineteen Nineties.

Colombia’s authorities had signed a peace cope with the left-wing FARC insurgency which handed over a portion of the nation the scale of Switzerland to the Marxist guerillas.

They wreaked havoc on the native individuals, usually staging a marketing campaign of kidnappings in return for big ransoms.

This led to native farmers arming themselves and forming militias to tackle the rebels, defending themselves when the state was unable to take action.

Anticipate to see corruption within the UK

Toby MuseAuthor and journalist

Ultimately, they fashioned the AUC, a far-right paramilitary pressure which rapidly turned to cocaine manufacturing as a method of funding their very own reign of terror.

One of many AUC’s main commanders went on to discovered the Clan del Golfo.

Toby defined that whereas the US mob could have managed low-level distribution, they by no means reached the extent of the Clan del Golfo.

He mentioned: “In the present day, there may be extra cocaine on the planet than we’ve ever seen earlier than in historical past.

“It’s seen as a Colombian drawback, however it’s funding and empowering violent gangsters all over the world. It’s corrupting officers all over the world.

“The domino impact of Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia’s cocaine industries is extraordinarily harmful.”

A part of the influence of this, Toby explains, has been greater and greater cocaine shipments, with the high-profile busts providing an perception into the size of the business.

One monumental bust noticed 20 tonnes of the drug seized in the United States.

In one other such big bust in February 2020, authorities within the Caribbean arrested a crew from Montenegro on board a cargo ship carrying 5 tons of cocaine.

Toby added: “This can be a world drawback that requires world options. Colombia can’t remedy this alone, and it’s unfair to count on it to, whereas rich international locations are nonetheless shopping for this drug in such big numbers.”

The Clan del Golfo have additionally escalated the violence related to worldwide crime to new, previously-unseen ranges.

Its energy reveals no indicators of diminishing any time quickly, regardless of ever extra money being pumped into efforts to combat it.

Final yr, cartel militiamen shut down a lot of Colombia’s north in retaliation for the arrest of their chief.

Former cartel chief Dario Antonio Úsuga David, higher often known as Otoniel, was arrested in 2021 as a part of a serious raid on his jungle hideout.

In response to his extradition to the US final yr, paramilitary fighters in balaclavas threw up roadblocks, torched automobiles, and compelled companies to shut.

This week, Otoniel pleaded responsible to medicine costs in a US court docket, and faces at the least 20 years in jail, after he was extradited to america final yr.

Together with medicine offences, he was hit with greater than 120 costs in Colombia, together with homicide, kidnapping, sexual abuse of minors, terrorism, and weapons costs.

Removed from breaking the again of the Clan del Golfo, it might seem his alternative has already been appointed.

Jesus Avila Villadiego, often known as “Chiquito Malo”, or “Little Unhealthy Man”, is believed to have stuffed Otoniel’s sneakers.

Toby places this right down to a failure of the battle on medicine and the so-called “capo technique” utilized by enforcement businesses – primarily based on the assumption that taking out the top of a cartel will trigger it to break down.

Regular offers have taken place between the biggest European legal organisations and the Colombian drug cartels.

The ‘Ndrangheta – or Calabrian mafia – have extra established hyperlinks with the Colombian cartels than the Cosa Nostra ever had.

For instance, the OCCRP (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Undertaking) reported in 2022 on the size of the ties between the ‘Ndrangheta and the Clan del Golfo.

In a raid in June, Colombian authorities seized 4.3 tonnes of medication and arrested 38 suspects in an enormous operation.

Whereas Colombia’s authorities has made unimaginable strides to sort out the facility of the cartels, the huge sums of cash created by the drug commerce are actually bringing distress to many different elements of the world.

Toby went on: “With this cocaine cash flooding round Europe, you will notice extra corruption, this business requires corruption.

“Anticipate to see corruption within the UK. This can be a combat Colombia has been preventing for 40 years.”

A lot of the cocaine within the UK comes from Colombia by way of Europe’s greatest port Rotterdam.

In 2021, the Dutch metropolis’s customs officers intercepted a document 70 tonnes of cocaine, up 74 per cent on the yr earlier than.

This represents only a fraction of the cocaine which is coming into the port and displays the disaster dealing with officers.

The town’s mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb warned that Rotterdam is “drowning in cocaine” and blamed the drug for a rising tide of violence.

Younger males from disadvantaged elements of town are drawn to the drug commerce which guarantees simple cash and a glamorous life-style.

Even port workers have been arrested for drug trafficking-related offences, together with a 43-year-old feminine cop.

A few of this spreading corruption can already be seen within the US, the place brokers for the Drug Enforcement Company (DEA) have confessed to conspiring with drug cartels.

In 2020, disgraced agent Jose I Irizarry pleaded responsible to 19 federal counts together with financial institution fraud, in addition to diverting tens of millions of {dollars} in drug proceeds from DEA management.


There may be extra cocaine on the planet right now than at any time in historyCredit: Rex


In the present day, the Clan del Golfo are behind a lot of the world’s cocaine commerce


A lot of the cocaine that results in the UK comes from ColombiaCredit: PA:Press Affiliation


It usually enters Europe by way of main ports reminiscent of RotterdamCredit: AFP


Cops are preventing an infinite battle towards ingenious drug smugglersCredit: Rex


Clan del Golfo chief Otoniel was captured in 2021Credit: EPA


The brand new chief of the Clan del Golfo is believed to be Chiquito Malo (proper)Credit score:


Disgraced former DEA agent Jose I Izarry conspired with the drug cartelsCredit: AP

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