Italian anti-mafia investigations have shown how the 'ndrangheta has used the Netherlands for its cocaine trafficking since the 1980s. But while the 'ndrangheta thinks and operates globally, law enforcement struggles to cross borders and efforts by Dutch law enforcement, at times, appear lacklustre.
The restaurant owner in Loggerstraat is one such example. Rocco Gasperoni, now aged 74, was one of the first pioneers to arrive in the Netherlands. Others such as the Crupi family, an important mafia clan, followed in his footsteps, expanding the trade.
The history of Gasperoni's arrest in The Hague in May last year stretches back 20 years, highlighting the extent to which European law enforcement is struggling to cope with organised crime syndicates.
In 1997, Gasperoni was arrested in Malaga, Spain, on charges of international drug trafficking.
Gasperoni imported hashish, as well as cocaine to Europe. He used several businesses to cover his tracks, including a wine import-export company. Before Gasperoni turned it into a restaurant, the spot in The Hague's Loggerstraat used to be a wine shop of his.
Gasperoni worked closely with a 'ndrangheta branch called the Siderno syndicate.
Italian police find hashish worth up to 200 million euros in fuel tanks
Eleven Montenegrins who hid more than 20 tonnes of hashish worth up to 200 million euros ($232 million) in a rescue ship's diesel tanks have been arrested, Italian police said
Hashish seized by the Spanish Civil Guard on a ship off the coast of Spain in September 2016. (Photo: Spanish Guardia Civil / AFP)
The Guardia di Finanza (GDF) finance police said they arrested the suspects in Palermo after escorting the Panamanian rescue boat to the Sicilian capital.
They raided the boat at sea after observing suspicious activity near the north African coast, the GDF said in a statement.
The drugs were found hidden in two of the boat's diesel tanks after the police emptied all 400,000 litres (100,000 gallons) of the fuel held in the ship's 18 tanks, purportedly meant for migrant ships in distress.
The Secret Luxembourg Base of Italy's 'Ndrangheta Mafia | OCCRP - Feb. 15, 2021 |
By the time Santo Rumbo turned up in Luxembourg, he was already deeply enmeshed in the world of the Italian mafia.
At just 31 years old, he'd allegedly risen to one of the highest ranks of the 'Ndrangheta, the vicious Calabrian crime group that is responsible for a good chunk of Europe's cocaine trade.
Siderno in Calabria, a major center of 'Ndrangheta activity
So Italian police were more than a little concerned to learn he had moved to the tiny northwestern European nation, where he got involved in a restaurant business along with a group of young migrants from an impoverished Italian village near his hometown of Siderno, in the 'Ndrangheta's heartland.
The intensely hierarchical and clannish 'Ndrangheta have fanned out across the world from their home base in southern Italy, often using family-based chain migration to get footholds in new markets.
But the town of Siderno, on the sunny Ionian coast, is still the capital of their global narco-empire. There, the mighty Commisso clan rules over a number of 'Ndrangheta families that are so powerful that their decisions can affect global cocaine prices.
Santo Rumbo's father, Riccardo, was one of these family leaders, heading the Rumbo-Figliomeni 'ndrina subgroup.
The hundred Italian mafiosi who do business in Holland with drug trafficking | Corriera - Sept. 20, 2019 |
"And the many fugitives hidden here show themselves to be normal, nice Italians, good in the kitchen."
"Rocklands" is a classic coffeeshop in the center of Amsterdam like there are so many. It seems made on purpose so as not to attract attention. For years it was the headquarters of one of the most important European drug trafficking borkers, one who moved in the shadows and who from Castellammare di Stabia, in the province of Naples, had moved to Holland to look after his business.
We are talking about Raffaele Imperiale, currently a fugitive in Dubai and according to the checks carried out by the financial police of Naples, permanently residing in a penthouse of one of the most luxurious hotels in the United Arab Emirates. Like Imperiale, other brokers, fugitives and Italian criminals have also found refuge and fortune in Holland where goods from all over the world arrive, even illegal ones, thanks to the port of Rotterdam, so much so that, as reported by the author of "Maffia Paradijs" Koen Voskuil, police reports show that over 100 mafiosi are currently operating in the country of tulips.
Imperiale bought the Rocklands (the current owner has nothing to do with the clans and their dirty business) in 1999. "Here he met the main Dutch criminals and organized his business. -tells Voskuil-He worked for several criminal cartels and was involved in drug and arms trafficking. He lived in Amsterdam but for more than 10 years and was not well known by the police, in the meantime he had made contacts with the most important Dutch bandits such as Rick van det Bunt and Mink Kok thanks to whom he earned a lot of money ».
According to the investigators, Holland was the fortune of Raffaele Imperiale and the clans who entrusted themselves to him and in particular the Amato-Pagano clan, the so-called "splinters". "Compared to the criminal history of him Imperiale, in Holland, he had the good fortune to meet a drug dealer named Rick the blond. - explains Giovanni Salerno, commander of the tax police unit of the Guardia di Finanza of Naples - This report put him in a position to become a real monopolist in the cocaine sector for the criminal organizations of the Camorra ». In 2016 the Guardia di Finanza found two paintings by Van Gogh stolen 14 years earlier in the Amsterdam museum: they had ended up in the hands of imperial Raphael.
The story is told in detail in Mara Gergolet's reportage "in the footsteps of Van Gogh" published by Corriere della Sera
Italian police bust drug trafficking Camorra clan and retrieve stolen Van Gogh paintings worth $100 million
Another blow for Kinahan cartel as major ally jailed in Holland for running a 'murder' gang
The Kinahan cartel has been dealt another blow - as a major ally was jailed in Holland - thanks to a garda seizure.
Dangerous Chilean mob boss Richard Eduardo Riquelme Vega, nicknamed `El Rico' (The Rich One) was sentenced to 11 years in prison for leading a murderous criminal organisation and for money laundering this week.
Incredibly Dutch investigators were able to nab El Rico thanks to a garda seizure of an encrypted phone from his right-hand-man at a Kinahan-safe-house in Baggot Street in Dublin in April 2016.
El Rico, 47, was a close-ally of Irish mob boss Daniel Kinahan and was considered by investigators to be a major wholesaler of cocaine to the gangster's international criminal cartel.
Gardai and international investigators believe that gangs like the Kinahan cartel were getting their cocaine from the Chilean's mob - which they then funnelled into Ireland.
El Rico was dramatically arrested in the car park of a luxury hotel in Santiago, Chile in 2017 - and extradited to Amsterdam, where this week he was found guilty of leading criminal organisations with the aim of liquidation and money laundering.
Irish crime links Kinahan to Taghi | The Sun |
Meanwhile, Ridouan Taghi is currently awaiting trial accused of involvement in seven drug-related murders in Holland following his own extradition from Dubai in December 2019.
Dutch media have also reported that Daniel Kinahan popped up during the attempts to track Taghi down before his arrest.
Undercover cops had tailed two lawyers from the Netherlands to Dubai in June 2019, believing they were about to meet Taghi.
The duo were met in the lobby of a luxury hotel there by a figure wearing a cap and glasses and Dubai police who were accompanying the Dutch prepared to move in, believing it to be their target.
However, the arrest was aborted at the last minute when locals recognised the cap-wearing man as Kinahan.
The cases against both El Rico and Taghi stem from a penetration by Dutch authorities of encrypted servers which they say were being used by organised crime figures to exchange messages.
Senior Kinahan business associate investigated over shooting of Dutch journalist
A proud son with his courageous dad, Dutch renowned crime journalist.
Arrest of Taghi in Dubai
The Mocro Gang of Taghi are suspect to have arranged a liquidation of a terrorist hiding in Amsterdam at the bequest of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Ali Motamed's death in December 2015, in the Amsterdam suburb of Almere, had been unexplained. Mr Motamed, 56, was an electrician for an energy company and had been living quietly for years in a terrace house with his wife, an Afghan émigré, and their 17-year-old son. He was on his way to work when he was shot dead by two men dressed in black.
His true identity was Mohammad Reza Kolahi Samadi.
My earlier writing ...
After 35 Years, Iran Liquidates MKO Terrorist near Amsterdam
Netherlands blames Iran for murders of "dissidents"
Dutch hypocrisy drips from the torture tower at the Binnenhof in The Hague.
One of Europe's Most Wanted Criminals 'Lives In Iran' - Dutch Media | RFERL Farda - Oct. 29, 2019 |
Earlier this year, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said there were "strong indications" that Iranian security services were involved in the assassination of 56-year-old Samadi, as well as the killing of another Dutch national of Iranian origin, activist Ahmad Molla Nissi, 52, who founded an Arab nationalist group seeking an autonomous state inside Iran. Nissi was gunned down in 2017.
The Dutch intelligence agency has also said a new report suggests Iranian security services may have had a hand in the murders.
Dutch gangland figure arrested in Dubai for murders | The National UAE - Dec 16, 2019 |
The EU has imposed sanctions on two Iranians and the country's military intelligence service in response to the allegations, and the Dutch government expelled two Iranian diplomats and summoned the Iranian ambassador in June 2018 to answer the allegations. Tehran denies any involvement in the murders.
In response, the Islamic Republic Foreign Ministry denied allegations and deplored the Netherlands' decision as "unfriendly," illogical," "devoid of legality," and "unproductive."
For its part, Tehran also expelled two Dutch diplomats serving at the Netherlands Embassy in Iran.
Dutch MFA stays silent on most assassinations by Israeli Mossad of Iranian nuclear physicists
Iranian scientist's death only the latest in long line of attacks blamed on Israel | The Guardian - Nov. 27, 2020 |
Jewish media proud to provide essentials in the murder of Iranian nuclear scientist.
Truth behind killing of Iran nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh revealed | The Jewish Chronicle - Feb. 13, 2021 |
Top nuclear expert was killed by the Mossad, who used a one-ton remote-controlled gun smuggled into Iran piece by piece over eight months, the JC can disclose.
The 20-plus spy team, which comprised both Israeli and Iranian nationals, carried out the high-tech hit after eight months of painstaking surveillance, intelligence sources disclosed.
The Tehran regime has secretly assessed that it will take six years before a replacement for top scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is fully operational.
Meanwhile, Israeli analysts have concluded that his death has extended the period of time it would take Iran to achieve a bomb from about three-and-a-half months to two years -- with senior intelligence figures privately putting it as high as five years.
Blinken: Iran's nuclear 'breakout time' a matter of weeks if violations continue | Al Monitor - June 7, 2021 |
Can a Credible Nuclear Breakout Time With Iran Be Restored? | Carnegie Endowment - June 24, 2021 |
How is Joe Biden doing to recommit the United States to the Iranian nuclear deal JCPOA with its UNSC allies?
Not well if the US Congress can help it! Nor it's prolific "democratic" ally Israel of course.