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Venezuela deports top Mafia suspect to Italy

Venezuela deports top Mafia suspect to Italy

Venezuela deported a convicted European drug trafficker dubbed the "Mafia's foreign minister" to Italy on Tuesday, where he has been wanted on drug smuggling charges since 2001.
Salvatore Miceli, 63, was led in handcuffs to a sport-utility vehicle to be taken to a plane, which departed for Italy.
Miceli was captured in Caracas earlier this month in a joint operation between Venezuelan and Italian police.
Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said it is unclear when Miceli _ who is suspected of smuggling cocaine, heroin and other drugs _ first entered Venezuela, as he did not do so through regular channels.
Italy's Carabinieri police in Trapani say Miceli worked as a middleman between Italy's and South America's organized crime groups, leading fellow mobsters to call him the "Mafia's foreign minister."
Born in Salemi, a town in western Sicily, Miceli followed in the footsteps of his grandfather _ local Mafia boss Salvatore Zizzo, said Capt. Antonello Parasiliti, who led the Italian police operation to arrest Miceli in Venezuela.
In the 1970s, Miceli was allegedly involved in a series of ransom kidnappings that helped fund drug trafficking clans in nearby Trapani.
Italian police say he was arrested in the early 1990s on drug trafficking and Mafia charges, but was later freed while awaiting trial and went on the run after being convicted in 2001. Police also say a 2003 probe uncovered Miceli's role as an intermediary between South American drug cartels, the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and Calabria's 'ndrangheta _ leading authorities to issue another arrest warrant.


Updated : 2021-07-27 19:56 GMT+08:00