Italy arrested the leader of the “Van Gogh” Mafia after years of fleeing

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Italy update

One of Europe’s most wanted criminals, Italy’s top Mafia cocaine trafficker, was called the “Van Gogh boss” for possessing two stolen paintings by Master Van Gogh and was arrested after many years of fleeing.

Raphael Empire Italian police said He is “the main representative of international drug trafficking and money laundering” and was arrested in Dubai on August 4. The Italian authorities only confirmed the arrest this week. Currently, Imperiale is being held in the United Arab Emirates before being extradited to Italy.

The 46-year-old Imperiale has close ties with the powerful family of Camora in Naples. The police found two paintings by Vincent Van Gogh in a house he owned near Naples. This painting was taken from the Amsterdam Museum in 2002. He was stolen and he gained fame.

The paintings that the police found in the Imperiale villa in the small town of Castellammare di Stabia were “Scheveningen Beach in Stormy Weather” painted in 1882 and “Leaving the Congregation of the Newnan Reformed Church” painted in 1885. Italian police said the recovered paintings have “immeasurable value.”

The police claim that the undated photo of Raffaele Imperiale arrested in Dubai is the main representative of international drug trafficking and money laundering © Italian Police / Associated Press

The Ministry of the Interior stated that Imperiale was “on the list of the most dangerous fugitives” in Italy. Although his drug smuggling activities have been seized on a large scale in the past ten years, he still managed to evade arrest.

In 2013, French police seized 1.3 tons of cocaine. The Italian government claimed that the cocaine belonged to an imperial organization and was sent on an Air France flight from Caracas, Venezuela.

The Italian Minister of the Interior Luciana Lamorgese stated that the arrest of Imperiale under the coordination of Interpol and Europol “reaffirmed our police force’s ability to fight crime, including those of a transnational nature.”

Imperiale left Italy in the 1990s and moved to Amsterdam, where he ran a coffee shop and began to establish contacts in the international drug market. After he established ties with the Di Lauro family of Secondigliano, his business relationship with the Naples organized crime family began to flourish in the 2000s.

Although Italy’s most famous organized crime group is still the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, its power has been significantly weakened in the past two decades, and from Camorra and Calabrian’Ndrangheta Become stronger.

The criminal family comes from ‘Ndrangheta Proved to be particularly good at establishing direct links with Latin American drug cartels, which enabled them to obtain cheap and stable large quantities of cocaine supply.

In March, the top drug dealer Giuseppe Romeo (Giuseppe Romeo) was arrested after years of fleeing in Barcelona, ​​Spain. Earlier this month, Calabrian criminal chief Domenico Paviglianiti (Domenico Paviglianiti) was arrested in Madrid, and he has been at large since he was mistakenly released from prison in 2019.

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