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CRIME

One hundred arrested in mafia drug operation

Over 100 people with links to the notorious Di Lauro mafia clan were arrested on Wednesday in connection with drug trafficking, attempted murder and the possession of weapons. Arrests include Raffaele Di Lauro, the son of the clan's boss.

One hundred arrested in mafia drug operation
File photo of police in Naples. Photo: Giorgio Montersino/Flickr

According to a 1,000-page arrest warrant referenced by La Stampa newspaper, the Di Lauro crime clan, which is part of the Neapolitan mafia known as the Camorra, earned around €4.5 million through a 24-hour drug selling operation between April 1st 2007 and May 3rd 2008.

Christmas 2007 was the most profitable for the clan, according to the police report, when the group sold an alleged €102,000 of narcotics.

The clan’s alleged expenses ranged from lawyers, armed guards and mechanics to lovers and weapons.

The arrests were made as part of an extensive investigation carried out by the Special Operations Squad and the provincial police in Naples.

Arrested clan members included Raffaele Di Lauro, 19, the son of the clan’s boss Paolo Di Lauro, who was captured while on a cruise ship in Sicily with his girlfriend. The trip, which allegedly cost around €10,000, had been a birthday present to his girlfriend, the paper said.

A traffic officer called Gennaro Faella was also arrested. Faella allegedly received a salary of €200 per week from the clan in exchange for useful information such as the installation of a surveillance camera in front of a bar frequented by the group.

The Di Lauro clan, which operates in several Neapolitan neighbourhoods and adjacent municipalities, became notorious in 2004 when a bloody feud broke out between the Di Lauro clan and the “scissionisti” or “secessionists” led by Raffaele Amato, a breakaway faction of the clan.

The war resulted in 60 murders between 2004 and 2005.

The clan’s patriarch, Paolo Di Lauro, was eventually captured in 2005 and is still serving a prison sentence.

Marco Di Lauro, another son of Di Lauro, is currently on the run after an arrest warrant was issued against him in 2006 but investigators say they are optimistic that he will be captured. 

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CRIME

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

Prosecutors in New York on Tuesday returned dozens of antiquities stolen from Italy and valued at around $19 million, some of which were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

“These 58 pieces represent thousands of years of rich history, yet traffickers throughout Italy utilized looters to steal these items and to line their own pockets,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, noting that it was the third such repatriation in nine months.

“For far too long, they have sat in museums, homes, and galleries that had no rightful claim to their ownership,” he said at a ceremony attended by Italian diplomats and law enforcement officials.

The stolen items had been sold to Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s leading collectors of ancient art, the DA’s office said, adding that he had been slapped with a “first-of-its-kind lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities.”

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Among the recovered treasures, which in some cases were sold to “unwitting collectors and museums,” were a marble head of the Greek goddess Athena from 200 B.C.E. and a drinking cup dating back to 470 B.C.E, officials said.

The pieces were stolen at the behest of four men who “all led highly lucrative criminal enterprises – often in competition with one another – where they would use local looters to raid archaeological sites throughout Italy, many of which were insufficiently guarded,” the DA’s office said.

One of them, Pasquale Camera, was “a regional crime boss who organized thefts from museums and churches as early as the 1960s. He then began purchasing stolen artifacts from local looters and sold them to antiquities dealers,” it added.

It said that this year alone, the DA’s office has “returned nearly 300 antiquities valued at over $66 million to 12 countries.”

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