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

COLOMBIA / 29 NOV 2013

The trial has begun for 45 members of a drug money laundering network operating in Spain alleged to have provided…

BOLIVIA / 8 MAY 2014

The United States has announced the withdrawal of key anti-drug personnel from Ecuador in an apparent tit-for-tat reaction to the…

VENEZUELA / 5 OCT 2011

Inmates at a Venezuelan prison released some 1,550 people who had been held hostage for more than a week by…

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…