SPAIN’S National Court has thrown out an appeal to stop the extradition of a major figure in an Italian mafia gang.

Francesco Faillace, 40, rented and operated the Nduja pizzeria in Benidorm which he ran as a front to give the appearance that he was a ‘normal’ citizen.

He was arrested in La Nucia on June 5, from where he controlled cocaine routes that stretched to Italy and Germany on behalf of the Calabrian-based ‘Ndrangheta’ gang.

FAILLACE’S DETENTION

Faillace was handed over to the National Court to process his extradition based on a European Arrest Warrant issued by Italian authorities

His lawyer launched an appeal on the grounds that the warrant did not specify that there had to be an extradition and that Faillace had not been allowed to go to an Italian lawyer for advice.

He also alleged that his client had roots equivalent to being a Spanish resident since he was married and had children who went to school locally.

Another argument was that he had assets in Spain as well as operating his pizzeria business.

“These circumstances show that the appellant lives in this country, and not in unknown whereabouts,” the lawyer argued.

The National Court bench thought otherwise and Faillace will now be sent back to Italy.

Francesco Faillace’s arrest was part of a coordinated operation against organised crime pulled together by Interpol with 24 other simultaneous arrests in Italy and Germany, with property worth €3.7 million impounded.

According to Italian authorities, Faillace was the right-hand man of the person in charge of transporting the money necessary for drugs being imported from South America to Europe.

In this specific case, almost 50 kilos of cocaine were brought in by the ‘Ndrangheta’, who are regarded as the continent’s major drug trafficking gang..

The shipment would have been sent to Germany before finally arriving in the Consenza area of Italy for distribution.

Interpol says that the gang has been operating in Albania, Spain – where it is estimated that there are several hidden members – Belgium, Germany, Serbia, Montenegro and Colombia since at least 2019.

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