Operation "Ponente forever"

(To Arms of the Carabinieri)

In the morning today, the Carabinieri of the ROS and the Provincial Command of Imperia carried out a joint operation with the National Gendarmerie of Marseille and Paris which led to the execution of a total of 46 restrictive measures, as well as to seizures of assets in Italy and France for a value of approximately 900.000 euros.

In particular, the following were carried out:

• a precautionary custody order, issued by the Court of Genoa at the request of the local Public Prosecutor's Office, against 14 subjects, under investigation for the crimes of possession / trafficking of weapons and drugs, as well as for the manufacture / possession of documents of false identities and procured non-compliance with punishment aggravated by the mafia mode for having facilitated the inaction of an affiliate to the 'ndrangheta. At the same time, the preventive seizure of assets will be carried out for about € 300.000;

• a restrictive measure issued by the French authorities against 32 subjects, accused of armed gang, association for the import and export of drugs and weapons, Recycling e rapina.

The result is the result of an articulated investigative activity conducted, first independently by the Special Operational Group of the Carabinieri of Genoa and then, in synergy with the French Authorities, as part of a specific Joint Investigation Team (SIC) set up, with the coordination of EUROJUST and with the help of the French Liaison Magistrate, by the Public Prosecutor of Genoa, the District Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Directorate and by the JIRS (Juridictions intérregionales spécialisées) of MARSEILLE in 2019, when convergences between the investigations carried out in Italy and France were highlighted. concerned SGRÒ Carmelo, linked, also by parental ties, to the cosca “GALLICO” from Palmi (RC) and a French drug trafficker in relations with the “MAGNOLI” family from Gioia Tauro (RC), who have been living for years on the French Riviera (F).

The investigations, developed in synergy between the French and Italian judicial authorities, made it possible to identify the existence of an active network between Italy, France, Belgium and the Netherlands interested in the supply and distribution of weapons and large quantities of drugs of different types.

In particular, the ROS investigations, launched in 2018, made it possible to:

  • document multiple supplies of narcotic (cocaine, hashish e marijuana) and weapons (even from war such as Scorpio and AK 47 - Kalashnikov) between SGRÒ and the French suspect placed respectively at the head of networks operating in Liguria and the French Riviera, with offshoots in Belgium and the Netherlands;

  • arrest 5 persons interested in the movement of drugs in flagrant crime and register the drug distribution channels in Liguria;

  • identify a group of Albanians who supplied the criminal circuit with large quantities of cocaine.

In this context, further investigations on the family context of SGRÒ Carmelo made it possible to verify that he would have favored the inaction of MORGANTE Filippo, a leading exponent of the cosca “GALLICO” providing for his movements, providing him with false identity documents, making real estate available even abroad (in France) and supporting him economically with the proceeds of the criminal activity. The SGR Lo itself, moreover, appears to have made use of representatives of the cosca GALLICO, linked to the MAGNOLI family of Calabrian drug traffickers based in Vallauris (F), to recover in France a batch of 11 kg of cocaine stolen from him by French suspects and supplied by a group of Albanians.

The investigations developed by the French Gendarmerie, launched following a large seizure of hashish coming from Spain, in addition to confirming the relevant interests in the drug trafficking sector, they also made it possible to collect elements of investigation on the availability by subjects residing in France of numerous properties used for the processing and storage of drugs, and to ascertain complex recycling operations illicit proceeds made through the purchase of goods, luxury properties and commercial activities in France.

In this regard, it is worth highlighting that the activation of the Joint Investigation Team has allowed the full sharing and usability of the evidence collected by ROS and Gendarmerie in their respective jurisdictions, confirming itself as one of the most effective tools to combat transnational organized crime. It should also be emphasized the significant role played by Europol and the Central Directorate for Anti-Drug Services (DCSA), thanks to which it was possible to continuously deepen, develop and share investigative acquisitions between Italy and France.