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CRIME

At least 13 arrested as police swoop on Italian mafia in Spain

At least 13 people were detained in Barcelona on Wednesday as part of a Europe-wide operation against members of Italy's Camorra crime syndicate, a Spanish police spokesman said.

At least 13 arrested as police swoop on Italian mafia in Spain
A view over Barcelona. Photo: Rodrigo Paredes/Flickr

“For now there are a dozen detained although this figure may rise,” said a spokesman for police in Catalonia where Barcelona is located in Spain's northeast.

He said the operation aimed to “dismantle an international criminal organisation involved in drug trafficking and money laundering”, adding that he was referring to the “Italian Camorra,” based in Naples in southern Italy.   

The operation was continuing on Wednesday morning in various areas of Barcelona.

The spokesman said there were also simultaneous operations taking place in other European countries including Italy and Germany.   

Police regularly detain members of Italy's mafia in Spain.    

In an interview with El Pais newspaper last month, Italy's mafia prosecutor Franco Roberti said his country's crime syndicates were solidly implanted in Spain.

He said the country was “a strategic place” for them “for geographical reasons, and because they think they can go about their business under less scrutiny.”

“It's a strategic location for drug trafficking and offers opportunities for money laundering. They see it as a place to colonise.”   

Spain's proximity to Morocco, one of the world's largest producers of hashish, as well as its close ties with former colonies in Latin America have made it the main entry point of hashish and cocaine into Europe.

READ ALSO: Italian mafia fugitive found on family holiday in Benidorm

ROME

Tourist fined €450 for swim in Rome’s Trevi Fountain

With the return of tourism and scorching temperatures, Rome’s fountains are once again attracting visitors hoping to cool off with a midnight swim.

Tourist fined €450 for swim in Rome's Trevi Fountain

In the latest incident, a 26-year-old Spanish man was fined 450 euros after taking a dip in the Trevi Fountain in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Rome’s city police apprehended and fined the man after he was spotted swimming in the 18th-century monument at around 5am, according to local media reports.

READ ALSO: How to keep cool like an Ancient Roman in Italy’s summer heat

Every summer, hapless foreign visitors face fines of hundreds of euros after falling foul of Rome’s strict ban on taking a dip in public fountains – with the city mayor warning tourists that the centuries-old Baroque monuments are “not swimming pools”.

In April, two Dutch tourists also faced fines totalling over €1,000 after their own ill-advised splash in the Trevi Fountain.

The Roman landmark is one of the city’s main magnets for badly-behaved visitors, but tourists have also been fined after cooling off in the Santa Maria fountain in Trastevere, believed to be the city’s oldest. 

Since 2018, anyone caught misbehaving at Rome’s monuments can also face a temporary ‘Daspo’ ban from the area – similar to an ASBO (anti-social behaviour order) in the UK – which allows city police to restrict the movement of people they deem a threat to public order.

READ ALSO: From selfie brawls to midnight swims: Tourists behaving badly at the Trevi Fountain

But a plan to erect a one-metre-high glass and steel barrier around the Trevi fountain to protect it from unruly visitors now appears to have been abandoned after arts and heritage experts called the idea “foolish”.

Fines for swimming in the fountains have been in place since 2015, but this hasn’t stopped determined visitors from recreating scenes from La Dolce Vita and even some locals from taking a dip – – with or without their clothes.

Swimming in the wrong place is just one of the offences regularly committed by visitors, with graffiti and vandalism a common problem at many of Italy’s famous monuments.

READ ALSO: 15 strange ways to get into trouble on holiday in Italy

In Rome alone, this year tourists have made headlines for everything from breaking into the Colosseum to enjoy a drink with a view to driving a car down the Spanish Steps.

Other Italian tourism hotspots, including Florence and Venice, also have varying local rules in place aimed at curbing rowdy behaviour.

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