Italian police elaborate sting targets Colombian drug gang, seize 4 tons of cocaine

Italian police bust FOUR TONS of cocaine worth $255M belonging to Colombian cartel whose chief was the most powerful since Pablo Escobar until he was extradited to NYC in May

Authorities in Italy seized 4.3 tons of cocaine that had been shipped by the Clan del Golfo, a cartel based in ColombiaThe massive shipment holds a value of $255.86 million in the streets, investigators saidThe drug were held by Colombian authorities, who allowed the shipment to fly out to ItalyUndercover agents gained access to the shipment and passed it to Italian traffickers before placing them under arrest

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Italian authorities made the third largest drug bust in Europe history, seizing 4.3 tons of cocaine from a Colombian cartel, investigators revealed Tuesday.

The massive shipment, with a street value of $255.86 million, was sequestered by Colombian authorities before it left for Europe, without the Clan del Golfo knowing that their operation had been confiscated.

The drugs were flown to Italy, where undercover agents passed it on to awaiting Italian traffickers, who wee immediately placed under arrest.

‘The purchasing organizations were different and did not know that the cocaine had already been seized, the producer in Colombia had already been paid and did not know about the seizure,’ Colonel Leonardo Erre of the Trieste Guardia di Finanza police said during a press conference Tuesday.

Cops in Italy search through a bag that contained part of the 4.3 tons of cocaine that was seized after it was shipped by the Clan del Golfo, a Colombia-based cartel

The shipment totaled 4.3 tons of cocaine and is the third-largest bust ever made in Europe and the largest in Italy

Italian authorities confiscated $1.97 million in cash along with the 4.3 tons of cocaine 

‘And so thanks to front companies and undercover agents, we were able to run the operation, delivery after delivery for over a year until the end of May,’ he added.

Investigators in Italy have issued arrest warrants for 38 people in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Colombia.

Cops also seized $1.97 million in cash.

The investigation lasted more than a year and involved both the Colombian judiciary and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations.

Authorities in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, warned their Itailian counterparts that the Clanl del Golfo was looking for hub to stash its drugs in Italy before distributing it across Europe.

Colombian authorities said last November they were focused on breaking up the Clan del Golfo gang, whose network extends to 28 countries around the world, after the capture of the group’s leader, Dairo Antonio ‘Otoniel Úsuga in October.

Úsuga was extradited to the United States on May 5 and is being held in a New York City prison.

Bogotá authorities initially alerted their Italian counterparts and told them that the Clan del Golfo was interested in setting up a hub in the country to store cocaine and distribute it across Europe

The cocaine shipment was held by Colombian authorities without the Clan del Golfo knowing about it before the 4.3 tons where flown to Italy. Once it arrived in Italy, undercover agents handed the drugs to Italian traffickers who were arrested

Italian investigators said the seizure of the 4.3 tons of cocaine is ‘another hard blow’ to the Clan del Golfo

The U.S. Department of Justice accuses Úsuga of trafficking at least 90,000 kilos of cocaine, worth about $2 billion in the streets of the U.S. from 2003 to October 2022.

‘Another hard blow to the most important group among Colombian narcotics gangs,’ Italian investigators from the northeastern city of Trieste said of the seizure.

They said their work had uncovered a ‘dense network’ of ties between South American cocaine producers and European buyers, who answered to organized crime groups operating across Italy, including in Calabria, home of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia.

They said police had followed 19 consecutive deliveries of drugs from May last year, enabling them to identify ‘important middlemen’ in the global drug trafficking system and a ‘substantial number’ of carriers.

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