Chilean authorities have broken up a cocaine trafficking gang said to have been inspired by the 1972 film “The Godfather.”
On July 24, Chilean officials arrested 12 members of the so-called Corleones gang, which was reportedly named after the mafia family depicted in the film. Authorities also confiscated firearms as well as 26 kilos of cocaine base and 3 kilos of unprocessed cocaine hydrochloride.
The gang, run by the Madariaga family, operated in the southern part of Santiago. The family allegedly owned a string of liquor stores and arcades, which they used to launder profits from their drug trafficking business. The gang is also suspected of being involved in a homicide in May. According to authorities interviewed by La Nacion, the gang used symbols from "The Godfather" to mark its territory.
The gang’s leaders, Jose Madariaga and Eduardo Madariaga, are reported to have idolized the fictional patriarch of the Godfather trilogy, Vito Corleone, according to Chilevision.
The Corleones gang likely sold cocaine to Chile’s local consumer market, since Chile is the second largest per capita consumer of cocaine in South America. Chile’s proximity to the cocaine-producing Peru and Bolivia, as well as its seaports that facilitate international trafficking, make it a convenient transit country for cocaine shipments. The country is also a source of precursor chemicals for its cocaine-producing neighbors.
The arrests come as a reminder that despite Chile’s reputation as a secure country with strong rule of law, the country is not immune from the influence of organized crime.