The Golfo clan from Colombia is ailing: first its boss "Otoniel" is caught, now Italian police officers confiscate several tons of cocaine and almost two million euros in cash. The confiscation is preceded by a complicated investigation.
In Italy, one of the largest quantities of cocaine to date has been seized during the use of undercover agents in Europe. For more than a year, front companies and alleged intermediaries were used to track cocaine shipments from Colombia to Italy by the Golfo clan, said Colonel Leonardo Erre of the Guardia di Finanza in Trieste.
The police seized a total of 4.3 tons of illegal drugs with a street value of around 240 million euros. In addition, 1.85 million euros in cash were confiscated and arrest warrants were issued for 38 suspects in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Colombia. The authorities in Colombia had already formally confiscated the cocaine, but refrained from accessing it so as not to jeopardize the success of the operation, Erre said.
The cocaine was flown to Italy, where undercover officers passed it to dealers. They were then arrested. A dense network of links between South American cocaine producers and European buyers has been uncovered, Erre said. In addition to the Colombian judiciary, the US Department of Homeland Security also participated in the investigation. The Golfo clan network was active in 28 countries.
Colombian authorities arrested clan boss Dairo Antonio Usuga, aka "Otoniel", in October. He was arrested in October during a large-scale operation in the jungle on the Panama border and is now to answer before a court in New York. In March he was extradited to the USA for this purpose. The Clan del Golfo was recently blamed for 30 percent of Colombia's cocaine exports. It has around 1,600 members and is represented in around a quarter of Colombian communities. However, after "Otoniel's" arrest and several beatings against his inner circle, the cartel is said to have been weakened.