HomeNewsBrief'Tony Montana' (of Peru) Tied to Italy's 'Ndrangheta Mafia
BRIEF

'Tony Montana' (of Peru) Tied to Italy's 'Ndrangheta Mafia

COCAINE EUROPE / 21 APR 2015 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

A judge in Peru has ordered the preliminary detention of a suspect who allegedly helped the mafia in Italy traffic cocaine to Europe, demonstrating how growing ties between Latin America and Europe is fomenting criminal migration in both directions.

On April 20, a Peruvian judge approved a request from the Attorney General's Office for the 15-day preventative detention of Gerald Oropeza Lopez, alias “Tony Montana,” and another seven people, who are accused of money laundering and trafficking drugs to Europe, reported El Comercio. The judicial order prevents Oropeza from leaving the country during the investigation.

According to sources from Peru’s anti-drug police, Oropeza worked for the Italian criminal organization known as the ‘Ndrangheta, collecting cocaine from the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro River Valleys (VRAEM) and Alto Huallaga regions of Peru before sending it to the port of Callao, where it was then shipped to Europe.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of European Organized Crime

The order for Oropeza’s arrest follows an attempt on his life. On April 1, assailants armed with grenades and automatic weapons attacked him as he drove his Porsche home from the airport after a trip to Cancun, Mexico. While the attackers' identities remain unknown, police believe it was the result of a dispute with Gerson Galvez, alias “Caracol,” regarding payments over drug shipments to Europe.

On April 19, Patrick Zapata Coletti -- a friend of Oropeza who had traveled with him to Mexico -- was found dead. Zapata -- who authorities said was kidnapped and murdered -- was a key witness for the investigations into the Porsche attack and Oropeza’s drug trafficking links.

InSight Crime Analysis

The case of Oropeza, and his presumed connections with the Italian mafia, highlight the growing importance of Europe as a drug market and the movement of criminal groups in both directions.

In recent years, cocaine demand in Europe has been rising, while that of the United States has been falling. In response, criminal groups have adapted, with evidence suggesting that Latin American organized crime has been moving to establish drug supply and distribution networks in Europe.

SEE ALSO: Peru News and Profiles

This process of criminal migration has also worked in reverse. In recent years, Italy’s ‘Ndrangheta mafia -- which has been estimated to control up to 80 percent of cocaine imports into Italy -- has moved to Latin America. This has been particularly true in Colombia, where in 2013 authorities arrested one of the top leaders of the organization.

In Peru, signs of a ‘Ndrangheta presence first appeared in June 2014, when a man suspected of being the most important cocaine supplier for the ‘Ndrangheta’s European market was arrested by authorities in Lima.

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 / 23 NOV 2022

The 'Ndrangheta have made the Italian port of Gioia Tauro crucial to their European cocaine empire by controlling it with…

COLOMBIA / 19 NOV 2021

A surge in US-bound migrants has been a boon to human smuggling rings in Ecuador – in a pattern that…

COCAINE / 6 JAN 2021

An Israeli national suspected of ties to Japanese and Israeli mafia groups has been accused of running drug trafficking, money…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

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,…