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Italy gets $1.5 mn from international drug bust

'We'll use our share to fight crime' tweets Alfano

01 April, 15:05
Italy gets $1.5 mn from international drug bust (ANSA) - Rome, April 1 - Italy on Tuesday received a cheque for $1.5 million from US authorities deriving from assets seized in an international drug-trafficking and money-laundering investigation lasting several years.

"Fifteen million dollars seized from Italo-American drug traffickers. The US is giving us our share! We'll use it to fight crime," tweeted Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, in reference to assets seized during the joint Italian-US operation 'Fire and Ice' that began with an undercover drugs bust in East Boston in 2008 and led to the seizure of millions of dollars in heroin, cocaine and drug money and charges against 20 suspected members of Colombia's biggest drug cartel.

Police forces must launch a direct attack on the capital of criminal organisations "without waiting for this to be transformed into assets, which are more difficult to seize," said Italian police chief Alessandro Pansa during the cheque-giving ceremony at the US embassy in Rome.

"Italy seizes a large number of assets, companies, belonging to criminal organisations, but a little less cash than the US, which is a bit more pragmatic in this respect," Pansa continued. The money received from the US authorities will go into a special fund for use by the Italian police and judiciary in the fight against organised crime.