Earlier this month the FBI busted an alleged drug smuggling scheme between New York’s Mafia and Italy’s Calabrian Mafia.
Of course, regular readers of Beyond Peradventure were not surprised to learn about the transatlantic alliance. After all, for years this blog has warned that the drug trafficking Calabrian Mafia – or ‘Ndrangheta — was entrenched in the United States and Canada with surprisingly little push back from law enforcement. Indeed, the crime group is suspected of backing a breakaway faction from the Rizzuto family in Montreal, QB Canada for control over the drug rackets in Montreal and New York, and it necessarily would have to hook up with New York’s Mafia in order to push product in their territory. According to the FBI the Calabrian Mafia has partnered with reputed associates from the Gambino and Bonanno families that are obvious choices given their long-standing involvement in the international drug trade.
The only surprise about the bust is its narrow reach into the supposed scheme concerning both smuggling logistics and involved players. For example, the feds allege that Mexican cartel-supplied cocaine would move from Guyana, South America into Gioia Tauro, Calabria but clam up in explaining how the product would move from Italy to Canada and then into New York which of course was the entire point of partnering with the Gambino and Bonanno families. And curiously no made members – let alone any bosses — from these two crime families are named defendants in the indictment; rather, only a reputed associate from each — Franco Lupoi and Charles Centaro, respectively — have been charged.
The failure to address the drug pipeline from Canada into New York or to include additional defendants aren’t minor gaps in the smuggling scheme but gaping holes. Indeed, Lupoi supposedly claimed he could smuggle anyone from Canada into New York through an Indian reservation which straddles over both jurisdictions, and a law enforcement source said it’s likely the drug operation was approved by his Gambino bosses. So why doesn’t the indictment reflect these components? As currently framed the indictment touches only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
The FBI states its investigation is “ongoing “ but the bust has provided the Gambino and Bonnano families with a heads up, and its undercover agent “Jimmy” who infiltrated the purported plot is now out of any information loop. Lupoi allegedly was instrumental in brokering the joint alliance between the Gambino family and the Calabrian Mafia, and due to his supposed ties to reputed underboss Frank Cali and soldier Pete Inzerillo perhaps the feds hope to flip him before bringing a superseding and more expansive indictment.
The bust has raised more questions than it’s answered, and the $64,000 question is what role, if any, Calabrian mobsters from New York – and perhaps even their Gambino and Bonanno partners — have with the ongoing resurrection against the Rizzuto family in Montreal, Canada for control over the drug pipeline into the Big Apple. Among those charged in the New York drug bust was reputed ‘Ndrangheta associate Raffaele Valente, and in successfully keeping him behind bars pending trial the government alleged in a court-filed detention memorandum that “Valente has been recorded on Italian court-authorized wiretaps bragging about the armed and violent group he has assembled in New York.” Moreover, among those killed in the ongoing drug war in Montreal was former Bonanno boss Salvatore “Sal the Ironworker” Montagna who was allied with the Calabrian Mafia until their relationship soured.
The one thing that has been seemingly confirmed by the bust is that the Gambino and Bonanno families include foreign nationals among its members and associates who are deeply involved in the global drug trade. However, the question remains when the U.S. Treasury Department will designate them as transnational criminal organizations under Executive Order 13581 to freeze their assets and ban Americans from conducting any business with them.
Further reading that may be of interest:
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the Forbes-listed billionaire who heads the Sinaloa cartel which supplies eighty percent of the illicit drugs consumed by degenerate Americans, has been arrested in a joint operation by Mexican marines and the U.S. DEA as reported by CNN: “Guzman, who authorities say has eluded capture for years, is wanted in the United States on multiple federal drug trafficking charges and last year was named a Public Enemy No. 1 by the Chicago Crime Commission.”
‘There’s no drug-trafficking organization in Mexico with the scope, the savvy, the operational ability, expertise and knowledge as the Sinaloa cartel,’ said one former U.S. law enforcement official, who couldn’t be quoted by name for security reasons” as reported by the New York Post: “You’ve kind of lined yourself up the New York Yankees of the drug trafficking world.”
The late Montreal Mafia boss Nicolo Rizzuto ran a construction firm fifty years ago that sucked on the government teat “starting almost immediately after he arrived in Canada from Sicily in the 1950s” as reported by Linda Gyulai for The Gazette:
Rizzuto’s resume included in his company’s bidding documents at the time claims he even participated in the construction of Montreal’s cherished Expo 67, the Universal and International Exposition of 1967 that put the city on the world map. The company, Grand Royal Asphalt Paving, also landscaped, paved and laid sewers and pipes in a dozen public parks in Montreal under four municipal contracts between 1963 and 1966 that The Gazette discovered in the city’s archives.
The Charbonneau Commission currently is investigating claims that the Montreal Mafia and dirty politicians are taking cuts from government contracts to construction companies in a massive bid rigging scheme, and “now it appears Nicolo Rizzuto himself was part of the foundation, so to speak, more than half a century ago.”
Augustine “Augie” Guido has pleaded guilty to his role “in the heist of $1 million worth of cigarettes from a New Jersey trucking facility in July 2010″ which was set up as an FBI sting as reported by Zak Koeske for the Staten Island Advance. Two of Guido’s co-defendants also have admitted their guilt, and charge’s against five others including reputed Lucchese associate Charles “Charlie Tuna” Giustra remain pending.
Imprisoned mobster Giuseppe Setola once headed a hit squad for the Casalesi clan from the Camorra or Neapolitan Mafia, and now after losing his liberty the degenerate killer has lost his wealth as reported by ANSA: “flats, villas, companies and bank accounts were part of the assets seized or frozen from Giuseppe Setola, serving multiple life terms for leading a Casalesi execution team that between May 2 and December 12 2008 murdered 18 people, including six West African immigrants.”
For decades Italian photojournalist Letizia Battaglia has chronicled the Mafia violence in Palermo, Sicily, and she recounts how the capital city “was a relatively calm place in the 1970s – until the mafiosi from Corleone, the town in the hills to the south, moved their drugs-related businesses into the city” in an interview with Karin Andreasson for The Guardian:
They brought Palermo to the brink of civil war and soon corrupted a good number of politicians, bourgeoisie and aristocracy. They used public money to build awful developments in the suburbs, speculating and investing only for the sake of their own profit. Green areas disappeared, and the beauty of the city was destroyed. Drugs – heroin in particular – annihilated an entire generation. I witnessed a neverending cycle of violence and murder. I photographed Corleonesi when they were brought to trial. And I photographed them when they were lying dead.
In short, Battaglia says Cosa Nostra was “mad, ignorant, cruel and hungry for power.”
The good woman forgot one word to aptly describe the Sicilian Mafia: evil.
Chinese officials have charged mining tycoon Liu Han with “running a vast mafia that blackmailed, beat and gunned down rivals in daytime attacks, traveled in Rolls Royces and Ferraris and fostered ties to prosecutors and police with drug-fueled parties” as reported by Gillian Wong for The Associated Press.