5 Feb, 2019 @ 14:31
2 mins read

Brits being probed for connections to violent Italian mafia after 14 arrested on Spain’s Costa del Sol

JACKPOT: The Guardia Civil seized blocks of Morroccan hashish destined for Rome (credit: Guardia Civil)

ONE of the most violent criminal organisations has been ‘completely disbanded’ in Spain following a joint international operation between the Guardia Civil and the Italian Arma de Carabinieri.

A total of 14 arrests between the Campo de Gibraltar and Malaga led to 13 prison sentences for members of the Marranella clan, themselves a branch of the notorious Italian Camorra crime syndicate, according to a police statement released today.

Meanwhile seven others, including British citizens, are under investigation for their links to the drug gang.

El Pais reported that among those incarcerated is clan-leader Era Giuseppe who coordinated the trafficking of tonnes of hashish via motorhome to Rome.

“With operation Maverick II we have disbanded one of the most important and violent criminal organisations dedicated to the international drug trade and based out of the Costa del Sol,” said a Guardia Civil spokesperson in a statement.

The Marranella clan were known to collaborate with British criminals in the Campo de Gibraltar to secure hashish from Morocco, but the Italian mafiosos also robbed and stole drugs from other criminal organisations in violent heists known as ‘vuelcos’.

In March last year, the Marranella clan held two Italian citizens at gunpoint in broad daylight in a busy street in Manilva before kidnapping and torturing them for 24 hours to give up the locations of hidden stashes of hashish.

Once drugs were seized, the clan would then contract a man and woman to posture as holidaymakers while clandestinely sneaking the psychoactive resin by motorhome and luxury car back to the back alleys of Rome.

BUSTED: Police raid three homes on the Costa del Sol during the operation (credit: Guardia Civil)

Last October, the clan tried to kidnap the leader of Spanish drug dealing network by beating him to a pulp and forcing him into a car for further interrogation, but after a brief shoot-out between both criminal organisations the kidnapping was unsuccessful.

Known in Italy as the Banda della Marranella, the crime family suffered a blow in the same month of October when the Carabinieri de Ostia, in a preliminary operation Maverick, arrested 42 people and seized goods worth two million euros across various cities in Italy, according to El Pais.

The missing piece of the international puzzle remained a Spanish cell securing and pushing the drugs to Italy—until now.

During the length of operation Maverick II, half a tonne of hashish was seized from six luxury cars and a motorhome by police forces in Spain, France and Italy.

UNDERGROUND: A subterranean cellar linked to the clan was found in Cadiz with enough space for a tonne of hashish (credit: Guardia Civil)

Police also located a hidden trapdoor in a farm in el Zabal de la Linea de la Concepcion, in Cadiz, where a ‘perfectly panelled’ subterranean room was used to stash up to a tonne of hashish for export to Italy.

The Camorra crime syndicate is one of the oldest criminal organisations in Italy and dates back to the 17th century. 

Family clans within the syndicate take care of their own business and territory—the Marranella clan was run with Giuseppe and his two sons, one of whom was arrested during the operation, while an international order has been issued for the arrest of the other son, presumed to be in Italy.

Joshua Parfitt

Joshua James Parfitt is the Costa Blanca correspondent for the Olive Press. He holds a gold-standard NCTJ in multimedia journalism from the award-winning News Associates in Twickenham. His work has been published in the Sunday Times, Esquire, the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Mail, the Sun, the Sun on Sunday, the Mirror, among others. He has appeared on BBC Breakfast to discuss devastating flooding in Spain, as well as making appearances on BBC and LBC radio stations.

Contact me now: [email protected] or call +44 07960046259. Twitter: @jjparfitt

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