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Police seize 99 kg of cocaine at Gioia Tauro

1,923 kg stopped this year at container port in Calabria

12 October, 10:38
Police seize 99 kg of cocaine at Gioia Tauro (ANSA) - Rome, October 12 - Italian police on Friday seized 99 kg of "extremely pure" Colombian cocaine at the Calabrian port of Gioia Tauro.

The seizure - the fourth big cocaine find in the port in six weeks - brought to 1,923 kg the amount of cocaine stopped in the huge container port since the start of the year.

Last year 1,082 kg was seized.

Gioia Tauro, the largest container port in the Mediterranean, is frequently used by the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta mafia, investigators say.

'Ndrangheta is Italy's richest mafia because of its domination of the European cocaine trade.

According to a recent report from the Eurispes research agency, annual drugs profits for 'Ndrangheta are now the equivalent of 3% of Italian GDP.

Ndrangheta' (from a Greek word meaning 'heroism' or virtue') once lived in the twin shadow of its Sicilian cousin Cosa Nostra and the Camorra in Naples.

It is regarded as the most impenetrable of Italy's mafias, with its close-knit family-based organisation outdoing the Sicilian mafia in its ability to defeat police efforts to turn members into state witnesses.

It has expanded from its Calabrian base to northern Italy, notably Lombardy, where a regional councillor was arrested in Milan earlier this week for buying votes from 'Ndrangheta clans.

The city council of Reggio Calabria was dissolved on Tuesday for alleged 'Ndrangheta links.

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