HomeNewsBriefPolice Arrest Link Between Colombian Traffickers, Italian Mafia
BRIEF

Police Arrest Link Between Colombian Traffickers, Italian Mafia

COCAINE EUROPE / 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

COCAINE / 2 MAY 2022

One of the first Balkan cocaine traffickers to ever establish a presence in South America and forge criminal alliances between…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 19 MAY 2022

Cocaine processing has taken root on European soil, Mexican and Dutch synthetic drug traffickers have partnered up, and a new…

BOLIVIA / 26 FEB 2021

While the seizure of 23 tons of cocaine by German, Belgian and Dutch police, the largest-ever haul of the drug…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…

WORK WITH US

Work With Us: Research Internship and Editorial Internship

31 OCT 2022

InSight Crime, a think tank dedicated to the study of organized crime and citizen security in the Americas, is seeking interns and investigators to join its dynamic, multinational team.