HomeNewsBriefPolice Arrest Link Between Colombian Traffickers, Italian Mafia
BRIEF

Police Arrest Link Between Colombian Traffickers, Italian Mafia

COLOMBIA / 20 MAR 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Colombian police have captured a drug trafficker in Bogota with close ties to the Italian mafia, shining a light on one of Europe's principal trafficking routes.

Juan Carlos Davila Bonilla, alias "El Gordo," allegedly oversaw shipments of cocaine from Colombia to Italy, working with criminal groups on both continents, El Espectador reported.

Colombian authorities say El Gordo worked closely with Iacomino Tommaso, an Italian who was arrested in Bogota in February. Tommaso is believed to have connections with mafias in Sicily and Palermo that sell cocaine on the local market and export it around Europe.

According to the authorities, El Gordo also worked with a local faction of neo-paramilitary drug gang the Urabeños, which provided security for his operations.

El Gordo masked his operations behind a legal front company, which sold jewels in Colombia and internationally.

Both El Gordo and his wife, who is a partner in the jewel company, are wanted by Italian police on drug trafficking charges.

InSight Crime Analysis

Italy is both one of Europe's largest cocaine consumer markets and a direct entry point for drug loads arriving by sea, according to the latest report by European police force Europol. The operation run by El Gordo and his alleged partner Tommaso is illustrative of how drugs are shipped along this route.

Based on the information released so far, it appears El Gordo handled the logistics of the operation in Colombia, working independently but purchasing the services and protection of a larger criminal organization –- in this case the Urabeños.

However, to ship drugs to Europe, the operation was reliant on a contact from the other side of the ocean, and sale and redistribution around the continent remained in the hands of local criminal organizations.

According to the Europol report, this type of network, which is reliant on criminal groups in Europe and sees limited involvement from the big cartels in the Americas, is common in Europe's international drug trade.

However, some large drug trafficking organizations are known to have established a more physical presence in Europe, including the Urabeños' primary rivals, the Rastrojos, who run  a base of operations in Spain -- an even more popular entry point for cocaine exports. In recent years, there has also been evidence of the increasing influence of Mexican cartels in the region, especially the Sinaloa Cartel.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 9 NOV 2011

In what is becoming an increasing trend, Colombia authorities discovered a cocaine-processing laboratory in the eastern plains of the country,…

COLOMBIA / 8 FEB 2011

The drug-trafficking bands competing for territory near the Colombia's Caribbean coast may be willing to negotiate their surrender to…

COLOMBIA / 17 APR 2015

The most violent FARC attack since Colombia's peace talks began is unlikely to derail the negotiations completely, but is nonetheless…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…