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Italian Organised Crime: The Caribbean and Mexico

The hegemony the Mexican TTOs exercise over the trafficking routes from South and Central America and the Caribbean to Europe whether directly or via Africa is illustrated potently by the following.

On March 10, 2017 the arrest in Mexico in the state of Tamaulipas of Giulio Perrone of the Camorra of Naples. Perrone was convicted in Italy for drug trafficking and sentenced to nearly 21 years in prison. Perrone was on Italy’s ten most wanted list for 10 years was a fugitive in Mexico. Note the state he was arrested in and its significance to a specific Mexican trafficking organisation. And the fact that the Camorra of Naples is now visibly present as it’s no longer only the Ndrangheta. Whilst Perrone was in Mexico he was perfectly capable of conducting business on behalf of his clan in Naples and most likely was doing so.

On March 17, 2017 it was reported that Ivan Fornari was arrested in Playa del Carmen, Mexico as he was a fugitive from Italy having being sentenced to 7 years in prison for marijuana trafficking. Both cases indicate that Mexico is now a preferred destination point for fugitives from Italian justice of all ranks which attests to the depth of integration that exists between Italian and Mexican organised crime.

On April 10, 2017 it was reported that a former governor of Tamaulipas state, Mexico wanted on drug trafficking charges was arrested in Italy. Tomas Yarrington fled Mexico in response to his 2012 arrest warrant for aiding the Gulf and Zetas trafficking organisations in trafficking illicit drugs to the US. It was no coincidence that Perrone was arrested in Tamaulipas and Yarrington was arrested in Italy illustrating the depth of the organisational ties and the cross flow of operatives.

On January 10, 2017 EFE Rome reported that the Italian Police stated that they had dismantled a trafficking network that moved cocaine from Latin America to Europe under the control of the Morabito-Bruzzani-Palamara family of the Ndrangheta of Italy. This Ndrangheta family operated a network encompassing Italy, Colombia, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Spain. It is expected that this Ndrangheta family maintained an organisational presence throughout its pipeline as this is how they do business which includes the DR and the Caribbean.

The extent of the organisational alliances between the MTTOs and Italian organised crime in the 21st century is being gradually exposed at the level of the operational arms. What is necessary is knowledge of the operational alliances at the leadership, decision making levels and strategic action levels but this is very difficult to attain given the level of heavily enforced organisational discipline, the cellular structure of the organisation driven by the need to know principle and the acute limitations of politicised policing and prosecution in the quest for dramatic public cases in the shortest time frame possible.

The acute level of discipline maintained by the MTTOs, the Ndrangheta and the Camorra presents a formidable challenge to those seeking to understand the structures of these trafficking enterprises. What is even more formidable is to lay bare the structures created to service joint trafficking enterprises formed between the MTTOs and Italian organised crime which also encompass the affiliates of both the MTTOs and Italian organised crime in Latin America and in the Caribbean today. Caribbean transnational organised crime who are at the apex of indigenous Caribbean organised crime has proved to be effective and efficient affiliates of the MTTOs and Italian organised crime. A reality which falsifies the official discourse of denial which continues to insist that they are just “gangs” ever involved with “turf wars” and “gang banging” as the discourse projects that specific trees comprise a homogeneous, monolithic forest which is deliberate. If you deliberately refuse to see the reality, then you don’t have to deal with it as it doesn’t exist. The national security apparatuses of the Caribbean are not structured to engage with the transnational organised crime threat in fact it continues to be blind to the nature of the threat on the ground content only to mouth the discourse of the north Atlantic especially that of the US whilst they wring their hands, complain and drag their feet which in many instances but not all is a bid to mask their complicity with transnational organised crime.

Another instance has emerged which illustrates the reality of the war on drugs prosecuted by members of the EU. In 2016 the fishing vessel Bianca was intercepted off the English coast of Cornwall with 939 kilos of cocaine on board. In the trial of the three crew members of the Bianca it was revealed that the purity of the 939 kilos ranged between 60-70% purity. This is not industry standard for drug markets controlled by the MTTOs, their partners and affiliates. For every kilo purchased on MTTOs controlled wholesale drug markets the purity was reduced between 20%-30% to create the load found on the Bianca as the accepted standard is 90%+ purity. If you are an affiliate of the MTTOs and their partners and you step on the cocaine in order to generate bulk to cut off the top for your pocket, then you and your family will be dealt with the MTTO way. The Bianca was then running 939 kilos of junk that was purchased and stepped on to create bulk. At worst it was a load of junk off loaded on wannabees who were then given up sending a message to the bottom feeders of the trade. Bottom feeders who are a hindrance to the hegemony of the MTTOs over EU drug markets where the strategy of high potency product at affordable prices is fully realised. This cannot be attained with 60%-70% purity cocaine before it reaches retail markets where your targeted base mass market retail purity is 30%. Just junk. But you place a huge retail market value on the seizure drawn from the ether and boast of your success in the war on drugs whilst you pick the low hanging fruit. Show us a seizure 939 kilos of 90%+ purity and forget the junk. But the war on drugs is a discourse of war nothing else.

Finally, on March 5, 2017 it was reported that Guy Philippe of Haiti was arrested under an extradition warrant filed by the US authorities. On March 6, 2017 Philippe was extradited to the US. In my 2006 book “Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking in the Caribbean Vol. 2” I stated that the militia that removed President Jean Bertrand Aristide of Haiti from power in February 2004 was bought and paid for by the illicit drug traffickers. Guy Philippe was one such prominent leader of this militia and the US indictment unsealed with Philippe’s arrest shows that at the time Philippe was organising the militia, then led it from the Dominican Republic into Haiti and set about the task of destroying the authority of the state and its elected president Philippe was involved in an illicit trafficking and money laundering enterprise. With the removal of Aristide in February 2004 the US indicted Philippe in 2005. So much for those who still insist without evidence that the US got rid of Aristide without clearly explaining the politics driving the militia that removed Aristide and its organic link to the illicit drug trade. At most what they can infer now is that Philippe served two masters but which one was organically vital to the life style of Guy Philippe in Haiti before and after 2004? Wanting to is not the same as having removed him that is why the MTTOs rule Haiti today with impunity! Why Philippe was handed over now? The answer lies in the politics of the trade in Haiti today.

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