The arrest in Colombia on Saturday of an alleged drug trafficker with links to the Sicilian mafia has shined a spotlight on the relationship Italian crime syndicates have with their Colombian counterparts.
Colombian authorities arrested Lacomino Tomasso, alias “Salvatore Cafareillo,” in the Colombian capital of Bogota, after Italy requested he be extradited on charges of conspiracy and drug trafficking.
“From Colombia, he sent shipments of cocaine to Italy, hidden in exports of fruits, where it would then be distributed throughout Europe,” said National Police director Jose Roberto Leon Riaño.
This was the second time that Tomasso has been arrested by Colombian authorities. He was apprehended and extradited to Italy in April of 2006 under the same charges. After serving his sentence in Italy, he returned to Colombia to resume his involvement in drug trafficking.
According to reports, Tomasso was a key intermediary between the Sicilian mafia and Colombian criminal organizations and paramilitaries. He allegedly had close connections with the former godfather of “La Cosa Nostra” mafia, Bernardo Provenzano, who was arrested shortly before Tomasso in 2006.
Investigations into Italian mafia presence in Colombia is ongoing, and it is not yet clear as to what degree they have established themselves in the country.
The former president of Italy’s anti-mafia commission said that one of Italy’s most powerful Mafia organizations, the “Ndrangheta”, had been using Colombia as a base for illegal activity, in particular for money laundering.
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