Italy and FBI bust mafia network in NYC pizzeria

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The mafia network reportedly had its base in a New York restaurant: Photo: New York photo: Shutterstock
12:31 CEST+02:00
The Italian police and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) joined forces to crackdown on suspected mafia members operating on both sides of the Atlantic.

Italy and the FBI launched the sweep against members of 'Ndrangheta, the notorious Calabria-based mafia group, Ansa reported on Thursday.

Fifteen people have so far been detained, while around 30 are being investigated.

The suspects are alleged to have operated a drug trafficking ring between Italy, the US and South America, the Italian news website said, citing sources.

The gang reportedly had its base in a New York pizzeria run by a man from Calabria, and would smuggle cocaine stashed in containers of bananas and exotic fruit out of South America. The containers would then be sent on to Europe.

Properties were searched and assets seized, including over US $100,000, several guns, cocaine and marijuana found in the restaurant, Ansa said. 

The probe found alliances between 'Ndrangheta and the Sicilian-American mafia families Gambino, Lucchese, Bonanno, Genovese and Colombo, La Reppublica reported.

Meanwhile, a New York mafia boss was extradited to Italy last month after allegedly demanding €1 million from an Italian businessman.

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Francesco Palmeri was extradited to Italy following his arrest last December in New York.

He's accused of travelling to southern Italy and threatening a businessman in the Puglia town of Matera, demanding repayment of a €1 million loan owed to New York’s Gambino mafia clan.

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