Major Italian drug smuggler nabbed in Spain

28th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Police in Madrid have arrested an Italian mafioso suspected of leading a network that smuggled drugs from South America to Europe, Italian authorities said Friday.

Spanish police zeroed in on Pasquale Locatelli, known as Mario of Madrid, thanks to a tip-off from Italian counterparts who had previously arrested his son at Bergamo airport in northern Italy, Naples police said in a statement.

The 58-year-old Locatelli was sought under an investigation that started back in 2005 and which uncovered evidence that Naples' Camorra mafia was active transiting hashish and cocaine from Spain's Costa del Sol

Known to be associated with the Mazzarella clan targeted by the probe, the Bergamo native was identified as a major supplier of hash and cocaine to the Naples market.

Suspected of being the contact between South American drug cartels and European and Balkan mafias, an arrest warrant was put out for him and in 2006 he was arrested twice in Spain only to be freed on technicalities.

Spanish police finally caught up with him again by monitoring contacts between him and his family, allowing them to pin down his location.

© 2010 AFP

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