An offer they couldn’t refuse?
Drugs-for-weapons trades between radical Muslims and the Mafia. From Reuters, with thanks to Nicolei:
ROME (Reuters) – Italian investigators have found a link between Islamic militant groups and the Camorra, one of Italy’s main organized crime groups, a top anti-Mafia investigator said on Monday.
“We have evidence that groups of the Camorra are implicated in an exchange of weapons for drugs with terrorist groups,” Pierluigi Vigna, Italy’s national anti-mafia prosecutor, told reporters at the foreign press club.
Asked what kind of groups, he said: “Islamic terrorist groups.”
Vigna, whose Rome-based office coordinates the work of magistrates investigating organized crime in Italy, said he could not give more details.
Pressed further, he suggested the cooperation came about after a member of the Camorra, the Naples-area version of the Sicilian Mafia, converted to Islam and met in prison with Muslims who had been arrested in Italy.
Security has been increased throughout Italy in recent weeks for fear of a possible attack by Islamic militants.
Precautions for this past Easter week were on a new scale after the March 11 train blasts that killed 191 people in Madrid and with the continued unrest in Iraq, where Italy has nearly 3,000 troops.
Former Spanish Interior Minister Angel Acebes said earlier this month suspects in the Madrid attacks had swapped drugs for around 440 lb of dynamite used in the attacks.
Two weeks ago, a top anti-terrorism investigator in Milan said militant Islamic cells scattered across Italy, many of them used to support attacks abroad, could turn their sights on targets inside the country.
Vigna said links between organized crime and militant groups were becoming common in many countries and warned they may intensify when the European Union enlarges to 25 countries next month.
He said European investigators and police had to be better coordinated and called for a European arrest warrant that would make it easier to apprehend people wanted in another country. Vigna also said an enlarged EU should have more joint investigations and more representatives of national police forces in other countries.
He also called for legislation to make it easier for a magistrate from one country to interrogate someone arrested in another or to seek trans-border confiscation of property and freezing of bank accounts.
Vigna said the four main organized crime groups in Italy — the Mafia, the Camorra, the ‘Ndrangheta and the Sacra Corona Unita — take in some 100 billion euros ($120 billion) a year from illegal activities.
The most lucrative was drug trafficking, which netted the groups some 59 billion euros, followed by illegal business activities, extortion and loan sharking, prostitution and arms trafficking.