Infamous Italian Mob Boss Arrested in Colombia

By McCarton Ackerman 05/01/13

The arrest highlights growing ties between European and Latin American drug traffickers.

Trimboli was one of Europe's most wanted
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The arrest of an Italian mob boss who had been residing in Colombia for the last three years highlights the increasing ties between Latin America and Europe in the global drug trade. Dominic Trimboli, one of Europe's 20 most wanted criminals and head of the ‘Ndrangheta—Italy's richest and most powerful criminal organization—was arrested on Friday in the city of Medellin after a three-year manhunt. The 'Ndrangheta is an organized crime family akin to the Sicilian mafia who earn $30-50 billion annually, mainly through drug trafficking and pirated merchandise. Italian prosecutor Nicola Grattieri confirmed that Trimboli's organization “had a lot of money and this facilitated his peaceful stay in Colombia.” The 'Ndrangheta is reported to have a major influence on Europe's drug trade, with Italian officials estimating in 2004 that 80% of cocaine entering the country comes through docks in the city of Calabria. The 'Ndrangheta and Colombian drug traffickers have worked together since the early 1990s, while their relationship with the Mexican cartels dates back to at least 2008. A 2008 joint operation between US, Italian, Mexican and Guatemalan authorities called “Project Reckoning” led to the arrest of 175 individuals on charges related to internal drug trafficking. "The ties between the Zetas and the 'Ndrangheta are the most frequent example of Mexicans and Italians cooperating, even beyond 'Reckoning'," wrote Patrick Corcoran of the Latin American security website The price of cocaine has spiked throughout Europe in recent years, with a kilo costing about $63,000 in Italy, compared to $28,000-38,000 in New York. If convicted, Trimboli faces 12 years in an Italian prison.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.