HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Arrest Reveals Deepening Italian Mafia Ties
BRIEF

Venezuela Arrest Reveals Deepening Italian Mafia Ties

EUROPE CRIME / 31 AUG 2012 BY STEVEN DUDLEY EN

Venezuela authorities, working closely with Italian and Interpol investigators, apprehended convicted Italian mob boss Salvatore Bonomolo, illustrating the strong ties the Cosa Nostra has with South America.

Italian authorities said that Bonomolo, who in Italy was convicted and sentenced in absentia for extortion and organized crime, was betrayed by phone calls to his family and international money transfers, the Associated Press reported.

Bonomolo began his career collecting "quotas" as part of the extortion rackets for the Sicilian mafia clan known as Palermo Centro, according to the International Business Times. Prior to his capture, he is believed to have managed the group's drug ties in South America.

InSight Crime Analysis

Venezuela is a known respite for mafiosos of other countries. Numerous Colombian drug traffickers have been captured or killed there, most recently Diego Perez Henao, alias "Diego Rastrojo," the feared head of the group that bears his name, who was captured there in June.

In 2009, Venezuelan authorities also captured Salvatore Miceli, a member of the Sicilian mafia who was on Interpol's most wanted list. Miceli, like Bonomolo, was suspected of brokering drug deals between South American and Italian criminal groups.

Venezuela has much to offer organized crime. Transparency International ranks Venezuela as the 172nd most corrupt country -- out of 183 -- in the world. There is a substantial black market for fake passports, official security forces IDs and other necessary paperwork to help anyone with money to camouflage their real identity. Bonomolo, for instance, had assumed the identity of Angelo Garofalo while working Venezuela.

Ties between South America and Italian groups have traditionally been strong, and are growing as demand fpr cocaine increases in Europe. Colombia mob boss and former paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso, for instance, used his Italian heritage to establish connections to Europe.

Mexican groups such as the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel have also forged strong ties with Italian organizations such as the Cosa Nostra, Camorra and 'Ndrangheta.

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

CARTEL OF THE SUNS / 14 JAN 2021

The “Cartel of the Suns” (Cartel de los Soles) is the term used to describe the shadowy groups inside Venezuela’s…

COCAINE / 26 MAY 2021

A Turkish mafia boss has claimed cocaine is being trafficked directly from Venezuela to Turkey in a viral video, pointing…

ELITES AND CRIME / 7 SEP 2021

The visual is an arresting one. A Venezuelan army sergeant, his face swollen and his nose bleeding from a beating,…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…