Malta link to massive Camorra drug bust in Italy

Malta link to Catanese mafia clan Cappello, in massive 425kg cannabis bust connected to Camorra clans

Malta has been linked to a Mafia clan in Catania, in a cannabis and cocaine bust across Italy that saw 20 men arrested, all connected to organised criminality.

The arrests are unconnected to the seizure of over 21kgs of cannabis inside a van in Malta on Monday 2 February.

Over 200 finance police from the Naples command, together with officers from Salerno, Caserta, Catania, Turin and Varese, formed part of Operation Buenaventura, a nationwide arrest of 20 criminals – half of whom were under house arrest – hailing from three separate drug trafficking gangs, with bases in Torre Annunziata, and the Neapolitan districts of Scampia and Secondigliano.

According to the Naples special unit against organised crime GICO, a Malta associate of the Catanese clan Cappello was to have acquired part of the cannabis consignment sold on from the Camorra crime family Genovese. The cannabis consignments are believed to have been transported from the Neapolitan provinces and then through Sicily, before arriving in Malta. Globally, the Italian operation nabbed 576kg of cannabis grass, 11kg of cocaine, and €166,000 in currency.

Other arrests were connected to the Camorra crime families Manzi and Dannier, who operate in the Scampia and Secondigliano towns. The Dannier family is itself connected to the Di Lauro clan, a main Camorra clan, and brokered the sale of the cannabis between Spanish criminals and the Camorra.

Among those arrested is Armando Manzi, suspected to be the link with a Colombian cocaine cartel, from where a consignment of cocaine departed from the port of Buenaventura – from where the Italian police operation got its name – and arrived in containers in the Spanish port of Algeciras.

The drugs then were traced to Italy, where the trafficking flows connected the northern regions of Piedmont and Lombardy, to Naples and Sicily.

One of the men arrested in Operation Buenaventura was an actor appearing in the second season of Gomorra, the Saviano-scripted series on Sky Italia: Carlo Cuccia, 40 of Varese, who plays the role of ‘Palo’.

Cuccia was suspected of being the Italian contact point of the Spanish drug suppliers, on behalf of the Dannier family. Cuccia had himself severed ties with the Manzi family of traffickers, after a bust on a 294kg cannabis consignment in the port of Genoa.