MafiaTriadGangsAustralia


A family business


Michelangelo La Barbera, suspected of being one of Mafia bosses behind 1992 car bombing which killed Prosecutor Giovanni Falcone, under arrest

Books

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/books/a-family-business/news-story/1d5d4b919e9c30f07b411efadc9dd3d6

STEPHEN BENNETTS The Australian - October 5, 2011

FOR British historian of southern Italy John Dickie, denying the existence of the mafia has always been this criminal organisation's most effective tool in camouflaging its nefarious activities.

It is also a myth that has enjoyed currency at times even in Australia, itself a key link in the huge global business network of the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta, the only one of the organisation's three branches thought to be active here.

Although the Sicilian mafia is certainly the best known of the three southern Italian branches of the mafia, Naples's Camorra has recently achieved new Italian and international notoriety through young Italian journalist Roberto Saviano's sensational 2006 expose Gomorra. Since the book's publication, Saviano has been forced, like Salman Rushdie, to live in hiding under police protection.

In one account of the origins of the mafia, three Spanish knights named Osso, Mastrosso and Carcagnosso fled to the island of Favignana off the coast of Sicily some time in the 1400s, after avenging in blood the rape of one of their sisters by a Spanish nobleman. During the next 29 years, they dedicated themselves to establishing a new rule of conduct and secret brotherhood based on honour: the honoured society. Osso (Bone) then moved on to Sicily to establish the mafia, Carcagnosso (Heelbone) crossed into Calabria to found the 'Ndrangheta, and Mastrosso (Masterbone) went off to Naples to set up the Camorra.

This for Dickie is the central foundation myth of the mafia, and its medieval trappings are reflected even today in the texts of mafia initiation rituals that are turned up in police raids. Two such texts came to light in Australia in the 1980s, at properties owned by 'Ndrangheta members in the leafy Canberra suburb of Giralang and the Adelaide suburb of Nailsworth. For Calabrian investigators Vincenzo Macri and Enzo Ciconte, these texts provide important proof of the 'Ndrangheta's ability to export and reproduce its traditional organisational structures even in faraway Australia. Yet Italian police have long been frustrated by what they see as a failure by the Australian government and authorities to take the 'Ndrangheta threat in Australia seriously: in 1995, the Australian Police Minister's Council even issued the extraordinary statement that extensive investigations by the National Crime Authority had "found no evidence that the mafia or other Italian organised crime groups exist or operate in this country in the way they do in Italy".

Despite the hokum of the three Spanish knights, Dickie argues the mafia is in reality no older than the 1860 unification of Italy itself, and that organised crime is in fact a congenital illness of the Italian state: the honoured society of Naples and Sicily was born from the prison system in the middle decades of the 19th century. The violence and conspiratorial politics of Italian unification gave the hoodlums their passage out of the dungeons and into history.

Extortion, the long-established taxation system of the mafia shadow state, is a legacy of the group's historical origins in the Bourbon prisons of pre-unification southern Italy, which were entirely run from inside by criminal gangs who taxed their unfortunate fellow prisoners on almost every conceivable aspect of their miserable daily lives. As one colourful cammorista phrase of the time had it: faccimmo caccia' l'oro de piducchie: "We can get gold out of fleas."

But in the run-up to unification in 1860, these cammoristi began to encounter a new breed of gentleman prisoner thrown into jail for their idealistic opposition to the Bourbon regime then ruling southern Italy. Some of these Italian patriots were members of the Carbonari (charcoal burners), a revolutionary secret society whose arcane masonic rituals were later adapted by the mafias for their own nefarious purposes. This masonic imagery is still reflected in mafia initiation rituals such as the two Australian examples published for the first time in 2009 in Australian 'ndrangheta.

For anyone with any familiarity with the role of the mafia in post-war Italian politics and society, there is a sense of deja vu in many of the episodes recounted by Dickie in the three mafias' 150-year history. In 19th-century Naples, where large sections of the city were effectively ungovernable, the newly created Italian state saw the necessity for some kind of informal alliance with the Neapolitan lumpenproletariat. And so after the dissolution of the Bourbon police force after unification in 1860, the new administration effectively handed over control of public order for a time to local Camorra bosses.

This co-management of public order between state and mafia has since become a recurring theme in modern Italian history.

With the gradual extension of voting rights to all adult males at the end of the 19th century, mafia bosses soon became expert at mobilising votes on behalf of their political patrons in Rome. Sicily was later to become a notorious mafia-sponsored fiefdom for the ruling Christian Democrats after World War II, while critics of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi have highlighted the fact, for the first time ever, all 60 Sicilian electorates in the 2001 national election returned candidates from one party, Berlusconi's Forza Italia.

A key to mafia success has been its ability to cultivate highly placed protectors in the political, judicial and law enforcement systems. Calabrian anthropologist Luigi Lombardi-Satriani, a former member of the Italian parliament's anti-mafia commission, has described the 'Ndrangheta as a Janus-like being, with one face turned towards engagement with elite political actors and another towards the organisation's historical roots within local peasant society:

the main face of the mafia is turned towards power, and is an organic element within the entire mafia project . . . [But the mafia] has another face which is turned towards the popular level, and tends to present itself as homogeneous with this milieu . . . [This] is a product of the mechanism of manipulation of folkloric values which is activated to encourage, channel and manipulate consensus within the popular milieu at a local level.

Blood Brotherhoods. The Rise of the Italian Mafias, traces the origins and evolution of the three mafias of southern Italy from their emergence during the turmoil of the Risorgimento to the end of World War II. The book provides compelling testimony that historical research is essential for understanding the present. Institutional amnesia has played a notable role in camouflaging the relentless ascent of each of the three mafias: much police and juridical documentation covering their 150-year life span is mysteriously missing from the archives. Although, since as early as the late 19th century, committed investigators had produced important insights into the nature and structure of the three mafias, again and again these insights were lost along the way or undermined by the convenient myth that the mafia doesn't exist.

After the savage 1920s fascist repression of the Sicilian mafia by Mussolini's "Iron Prefect", Cesare Mori, and of the Camorra in Campania, Mussolini publicly announced the complete annihilation of southern Italian organised crime in 1927. Yet Dickie's research gives the lie to this claim, showing how these organisations were able to adapt to these difficult circumstances, and indeed re-emerge even stronger in the chaos following the World War II, often with the naive complicity of the Allied occupation forces.

Important similarities and contrasts emerge from Dickie's unique comparative analysis of the three organisations. By avoiding involvement in prostitution from the very beginning, the Sicilian mafia has been able to establish more stable dynastic structures, while the 'Ndrangheta has learned the same lesson during the course of its own history. The Camorra is more inherently unstable than its two cousins, partly because of its continuing involvement in prostitution, but also because of greater indiscipline within its ranks: Saviano describes young camorristi carrying out hits while affected by ecstasy and cocaine. Not surprisingly, the Camorra has a greater reputation for accidentally shooting innocent bystanders than their more professional brethren.

The history of the 'Ndrangheta in Australia begins in Queensland in the early 20th century, when, between 1928 and 1940, 10 murders and 30 attempted murders were attributed by authorities to the Calabrian Black Hand organisation. The disappearance in 1977 of Griffith Liberal politician Donald Mackay is well known, while fans of Underbelly are familiar with the exploits of Australian 'Ndrangheta boss Robert Trimbole.

In 1994, an 'Ndrangheta parcel bomb delivered to the Adelaide office of the National Crime Authority killed NCA investigator Geoffrey Bowen, who was due to give evidence about an 'Ndrangheta cannabis operation the following day. Before being blown up with members of his police escort by a massive mafia bomb in 1992, Sicilian judge Giovanni Falcone had followed the 'Ndrangheta money trail to Australia, while Nicola Calipari (the Italian secret service agent who died tragically in a hail of American bullets in Iraq in 2005 while rescuing Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena) also came to Australia on a secret 'Ndrangheta-related mission in 1988.

His report, along with the Adelaide and Canberra mafia initiation texts, has been published for the first time in Australian 'ndrangheta. Earlier this year, Italian police sought the extradition of Calabrian former mayor of the city of Stirling in Perth, Tony Vallelonga, in connection with suspicious conversations secretly recorded between him and 'Ndrangheta boss Giuseppe Commisso while the ex-mayor was visiting his home town in Calabria.

Italian community leaders have a legitimate concern that the vast majority of Italians and Calabrians in Australia who have no connections to the 'Ndrangheta may be unfairly tarnished with the mafia stigma. I know a number of Calabrians in Australia and Calabria, for instance, who have the misfortune of sharing the same surname as some of the most notorious 'Ndrangheta families, yet have absolutely nothing to do with their criminal activities; this is true even of both authors of Australian 'ndrangheta.

Yet, for veteran investigative journalist Bob Bottom, some Australian politicians have sought to deny the continuing existence of the mafia in Australia for base political motives, out of respect for "political correctness" and as a sop to ethnic sensitivities. This too has a familiar ring from Dickie's accounts of 19th-century investigators in Palermo and Naples who were sometimes targeted by public campaigns alleging they were besmirching the honour of Sicily and Naples through their anti-mafia investigations.

Politicians in Australia, not only Italy, have sometimes been accused of providing political cover for the 'Ndrangheta, most notoriously in the case of former Whitlam government minister for immigration and federal MP for the Griffith area Al Grassby. In 2009, the Australian Federal Police began investigations into allegations that the Liberal Party had accepted up to $100,000 in donations from mafia-linked businessmen to influence then minister for immigration Amanda Vanstone to issue a visa in 2005 allowing alleged 'Ndrangheta figure Francesco Madafferi to stay in Australia. One pillar of Melbourne's Italian community, Nino Randazzo, editor of Il Globo, the city's most widely read Italian language daily (later elected Italian senator for Oceania in 2006), even published a full-page public appeal to then attorney-general Philip Ruddock in Il Globo on Madafferi's behalf. In 2008, Madafferi was arrested in connection with the world's largest ecstasy importation through the Port of Melbourne. Last year, three Australian citizens of Calabrian origin were tried on 'Ndrangheta-related charges in Calabria in absentia, following a failure since 2004 to secure their extradition from Australian authorities.

Dickie's book begins with a quotation from the great Calabrian writer Corrado Alvaro, who once wrote that "the blackest despair that can take hold of any society is the fear that living honestly is futile". Despite this pessimistic message, many who live in southern Italian mafia territory have been inspired by the heroic examples of assassinated Sicilian judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino and courageous journalists such as Roberto Saviano to challenge local mafia power, instead of giving in to that blackest despair of which Alvaro writes.

By shining a light so powerfully into the darkest recesses of mafia mythology and history, Dickie's new book will certainly provide a concrete tool in the anti-mafia struggle to which many Italians and Calabrians in Australia and Italy are passionately committed.

                     

              Blood Brotherhoods: The Rise of the Italian Mafias Paperback– February 1, 2012

              by John Dickie  (Author)

https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Brotherhoods-Rise-Italian-Mafias/dp/0340963948

MAFIA BROTHERHOODS (previously published as BLOOD BROTHERHOODS) is the enthralling new history of Italian organised crime by the author of the international bestseller COSA NOSTRA. Mafia. Camorra. 'Ndrangheta. The Sicilian mafia, or Cosa Nostra, is far from being Italy's only dangerous criminal fraternity. The south of the country hosts two other major mafias: the camorra, from Naples and its hinterland; and the 'ndrangheta, the mafia from the poor and isolated region of Calabria that has now risen to become the most powerful mob of all. Each of these brotherhoods has its own methods, its own dark rituals, its own style of ferocity and corruption. Their early history is little known; indeed some of it has been entirely shrouded in myth and silence until now. MAFIA BROTHERHOODS is a book of breathtaking ambition, charting the birth and rise of all three of Italy's mafias. It blends ground-breaking archival research, passionate narrative, and shrewd historical analysis to bring Italy's unique 'criminal ecosystem', and the three terrifying criminal brotherhoods that evolved within it, to life on the page. Previously published as BLOOD BROTHERHOODS.

Blood Brotherhoods: The Rise of the Italian Mafias
By John Dickie
Sceptre, 448pp, $32.99


Australian 'ndrangheta, i codici di affiliazione e la missione di Nicola Calipari
By Enzo Ciconte and Vincenzo Macri
Rubbettino Editore, Soveria Mannelli, 158pp, E12


The book was inspired by the report and the documents attached thereto that Nicola Calipari gave, in the early 90s, Vincenzo Macri.

.It is completely new material, which allows you to open a gash about the presence of the 'Ndrangheta in the Australian continent, which so far little is known and very little has been written.

 
Vincenzo Macrì outlines a framework for the presence of the 'Ndrangheta in Australia, before and after Calipari's mission from which we can understand the extraordinary ability to spread the Calabrian Mafia, even compared to the "sisters" the most famous Italian, like the Sicilian Mafia and the Camorra, which in Australia they are completely absent. 

On the contrary, the presence of the 'Ndrangheta is continuous, invasive and dangerous enough to force the Australian government to a series of investigative and prosecuting operations, major, which nevertheless did not produce definitive results.

 
Enzo Ciconte deals with a detailed analysis of the documentary material attached to the report of Nicola Calipari, particularly manuscripts of copies of "codes of the 'Ndrangheta" unearthed by Australian investigators in honor of Calabrian homes of men.

Australian 'ndrangheta: i codici d'affiliazione e la missione di Nicola Calipari

https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Australian_ndrangheta.html?id=Pr2bPgAACAAJ

Enzo Ciconte, Vincenzo Macrì

Rubbettino, 2009 - Social Science - 158 pages

 

Il volume prende spunto dalla relazione e dalla documentazione ad essa allegata che Nicola Calipari consegnò, nei primi anni '90, a Vincenzo Macrì. Si tratta di materiale del tutto inedito, che consente di aprire uno squarcio circa la presenza della 'ndrangheta nel continente australiano, di cui sinora poco si sa e pochissimo si è scritto. Vincenzo Macrì delinea un quadro della presenza della 'ndrangheta in Australia, prima e dopo la missione di Calipari dal quale si comprende la straordinaria capacità di diffusione della mafia calabrese, anche rispetto alle "consorelle" italiane più famose, come mafia siciliana e camorra, che in Australia sono del tutto assenti. Al contrario, la presenza della 'ndrangheta è continua, invasiva e pericolosa, tanto da costringere il governo australiano ad una serie di interventi investigativi e repressivi, di grande rilievo, che tuttavia non produssero risultati definitivi. Enzo Ciconte affronta una analisi dettagliata del materiale documentale allegato alla relazione di Nicola Calipari, ed in particolare degli esemplari manoscritti di "codici della 'ndrangheta" rinvenuti dagli investigatori australiani nelle abitazioni di uomini d'onore calabresi.

 

Australian 'ndrangheta. I codici di affiliazione e la missione di Nicola Calipari (Italien) Broché

de Enzo Ciconte  (Auteur), Vincenzo Macrì  (Auteur)

 

https://www.amazon.fr/Australian-ndrangheta-affiliazione-missione-Calipari/dp/8849824289

Il volume prende spunto dalla relazione e dalla documentazione ad essa allegata che Nicola Calipari consegnò, nei primi anni '90, a Vincenzo Macrì. Si tratta di materiale del tutto inedito, che consente di aprire uno squarcio circa la presenza della 'ndrangheta nel continente australiano, di cui sinora poco si sa e pochissimo si è scritto. Vincenzo Macrì delinea un quadro della presenza della 'ndrangheta in Australia, prima e dopo la missione di Calipari dal quale si comprende la straordinaria capacità di diffusione della mafia calabrese, anche rispetto alle "consorelle" italiane più famose, come mafia siciliana e camorra, che in Australia sono del tutto assenti. Al contrario, la presenza della 'ndrangheta è continua, invasiva e pericolosa, tanto da costringere il governo australiano ad una serie di interventi investigativi e repressivi, di grande rilievo, che tuttavia non produssero risultati definitivi. Enzo Ciconte affronta una analisi dettagliata del materiale documentale allegato alla relazione di Nicola Calipari, ed in particolare degli esemplari manoscritti di "codici della 'ndrangheta" rinvenuti dagli investigatori australiani nelle abitazioni di uomini d'onore calabresi.

                      

    Busted - The Inside Story of the World's Biggest Ecstasy Haul ...

   ....and How The Australian Calabrian Mafia Nearly Got Away With It...

   by Keith Moor...

   

http://www.booktopia.com.au/busted-keith-moor/prod9780143797128.html

 

Bestselling writer and organised-crime expert Keith Moor takes us behind the headlines of the world's biggest seizure of ecstasy to expose a sophisticated mafia network in Australia. 

Bestselling writer and organised-crime expert Keith Moor takes us behind the headlines of the world's biggest seizure of ecstasy to expose a sophisticated mafia network in Australia. 

In 2007, Melbourne customs officials intercepted 15 million ecstasy tablets hidden in 3000 tomato tins arriving from Naples, Italy – the largest haul of ecstasy in the world. The seized pills had a street value of $440 million. 

After getting a lucky break from the actions of a diligent customs officer, the Australian Federal Police swooped on the traffickers. As they brought in the suspects, the powerful Calabrian Mafia was exposed as being at the heart of it all. 

Drawing on years of research and never-before-revealed evidence, Busted details this extraordinary case – one of the largest AFP operations ever – and how it fits into the murky history of Australian organised crime. From the Walkley Award–winning author of Crims in Grass Castles, this is a fascinating and powerful account of one of the biggest crimes, and many of the worst criminals, our society has seen. 

About the Author

Keith Moor is Editor of the Melbourne Herald Sun's Insight investigative unit. Formerly the Melbourne Herald's Chief Police Reporter and Canberra political correspondent, Keith won the Walkley Award for news reporting in 1986 for his coverage of the kidnap of two Victorian aid workers in Pakistan. He became the Herald Sun's first Chief of Staff when the newspaper was formed in 1990, then its News Editor and Managing Editor (News) in 1995. Keith's journalistic awards include the Melbourne Press Club Quill Award for best print feature in 2000, News Limited Newsbreaker of the Year award in 2004, News Limited Specialist Writer of the Year Award in 2007 and the 2007 Quill Award for the best deadline report in any medium for his coverage of the arrest of Tony Mokbel. 

He was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in England. Keith has written or co-written five books, of which Crims in Grass Castles is the first.


Evil Life- The true story of the Calabrian Mafia in Australia

Clive Small and Tom Gilling  AUD $32.99

https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/general-books/true-crime/Evil-Life-Clive-Small-and-Tom-Gilling-9781742374925

The Calabrian Mafia in Australia is alive and well. This is the first time its real story in this country has ever been told.

The Calabrian mafia is Australia's oldest, largest and most ruthless crime syndicate, trafficking drugs worth billions of dollars and laundering the proceeds through sophisticated international networks.

Enforcing discipline with age-old tools of violence and intimidation, the Calabrians have been responsible for nearly 40 murders in Australia since the mid-1970s and many more before that. Mafia families in Australia report directly to bosses in Calabria and profits are funnelled back to the mother organisation. Yet despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Federal and State law enforcement agencies have long assured the public that there is no Calabrian mafia in Australia.

With powerful and uncompromising clarity, Evil Life shatters this myth. Drawing on court documents and unreleased intelligence reports, as well as interviews with well-informed sources, the authors reveal how the Calabrian mafia evolved from its beginnings on the north Queensland cane fields in the 1920s to establish cells in every major capital city, making Australia a key outpost in the world of global organised crime.

 

 

 


The Australian Mafia

Published on May 16, 2016

Known by the name "The Honoured Society," the 'Ndrangheta controlled Italian-Australian organized crime all along the East Coast of Australia since the early 20th century. From ABC 'Four Corners' investigative series.

Category - Education

 

Te real truth life story behind the Criminal Underbelly of the Melbourne Illegal Drug Business War
Documentary Films Addict HD™ O || Dead Famous fatboy Carl William's gangland war Limitless..

This documentary shows the reality of the Victoria Drug Squad and the judiciary involvement of allowing these career criminals and gangsters, murderers, drug dealers and stand-over men in allowing the multi-billion dollar illegal drug business to continue ot be run by these career criminals and gangsters, murderers, drug dealers and stand-over men, who were well known to the police and in some instances were partners of some police, just as career drug dealer Poalo "Paul" Musarri, a Western Australian drug king pin who was once a colourful and integral part of Perth/Western Australia's version the Criminal Underbelly  in the 1980's and 1990's and beyond, was allowed to operate supplying and selling illegal drugs in Perth and Western Australia for many years because as he stated to the District Court at his 1980's trial for selling and supplying heroin ..... as he stood in the dock where the accused stands or sits during a criminal trial or hearing .... "...your Honour and I admit that for many years my business has been supplying and selling heroin .... but what I do not quite understand is why those police officers sitting in the court that arrested me on these charges ....
.... are not also standing in the dock with me as well ....  charged with supplying and selling heroin, as they have been my business partners for many years?...." ...
taken from a new book being published entitled.. 
" The last 60 years of the Darker Side and Perth  and Western Australia "... published by the Australian Weekend News ...
email inquiries for a collectors copy of this book and another must read books for Western Australians

Missing Abducted Murdered in Western Australia

please email The Give Western Australia Back To The People Action Group at: 
missingabductedinwa@gmail.com


Missing Abducted Murdered in Western Australia

 

for a collectors copy of  the book Missing Abducted Murdered in Western Australia, please email:

The Give Western Australia Back To The People Action Group at

missingabductedinwa@gmail.com


The Triads Mafia Documentary




Tony Vallelonga, former Western Australia City of Stirling mayor
faces accusations he led mafia cell


   Lawyer John Hammond and his client Tony Vallelonga, who is accused of being a Mafia gangster.


Tony Vallelonga speaks out against claims he is involved in the Calabrian/Italian Mafia


Court documents from ongoing proceedings in Italy also show Italian prosecutors allege Tony Vallelonga, who is the former mayor of Stirling in Perth, is the local leader of a mafia cell in Perth.

Court files allege that Mr Vallelonga is responsible for “making the most important decisions, imparting orders or imposing sanctions on other subordinate associates”.

The files allege Mr Vallelonga was concerned about a rival who wanted to start his own cell on Mr Vallelonga’s turf with the approval of Calabrian bosses.

Mr Vallelonga was allegedly recorded in an Italian laundromat recounting a conversation with his competitor where he allegedly said: “As long as I’m alive, you don’t get a locale [local mafia cell] … and that’s that!”

To which his rival responded: “You can’t be the man any more … enough!”

It comes after the prosecutors sought to question Mr Vallelonga over his dealings in Calabria with a notorious mafia boss.

Mr Valleonga has always denied the allegations and in a statement sent to the ABC, Mr Vallelonga’s lawyer said any allegation the former mayor had ever been involved in criminal activity was “completely without any foundation”.

Outside of the political arena, Italian police have identified another Australian allegedly working in Calabria who is part of the influential Alvaro family.

Some members of the family were recently subjects of an international anti-mafia operation when authorities seized tonnes of cocaine and made dozens of arrests.

Confidential Italian and Australian police files state that the Alvaro clan has arms in Australia.

They are allegedly headed by Adelaide construction figure Paul Alvaro, 64, and a New South Wales man.

The pair are among figures around the country, including in Griffith, New South Wales.

A police assessment said the individuals operate as “an executive board of directors” for the Calabrian Mafia.

Comments

Six Zones Hmmmm Five states and the Australian capital territories , In the sixties the Mafia in Australia said they were going to go legit , They started to buy into major businesses ( car dealers , Pubs , even farms and stations and this included a couple of small to medium meat works . ) BACK IN THE DAY THE NSW POLICE WERE SO CORRUPT THAT IF YOU DIDN’T PAY THEM THEY WOULD FIT YOU UP ,A Branch of hte mafia in thier own right ( CRIMINAL GANG ) My personal experience with them was that if I pulled up in one of my tow trucks and picked up a smashed car and didn’t pay them they would write up defect stickers on my trucks , I also had the displeasure of being held out the window of the Little Regent street police station window and threatened to be dropped because they knew I had 8 mm footage of the police robbing a Wynn’s store in Maroubra Junction . They were also running under aged girls in brothels and had uni students making acid tabs on blotting paper for them . The Question has to be asked who are the Australian mafia , and are some of those people currently and in the past in our countries seats of power and in our state and federal police forces . The old style Mafia is long gone and now the old mob boys have sent their children to university to become respectable criminals , As the saying went back in the sixties , Their are no criminals just alternative business people and if it was not for the straight people using their services their would be no Mafia .

Peter Schuback

Well said Peter. Editor


Perth man linked with Mafia boss

Dylan Welch

MARCH 10 2011

THE undercover role of the Italian Mafia in Australia is in the spotlight again, following accusations that a West Australian property developer and former suburban mayor was criminally involved with one of Italy's biggest godfathers.

Domenicantonio Cosimo (''Tony'') Vallelonga, a former suburban Perth mayor and owner of at least nine registered businesses, including a large property development firm, was yesterday accused by Italian police of involvement with the Calabrian Mafia, known as the 'Ndrangheta.

The accusations relate to Mr Vallelonga's relationship with 'Ndrangheta boss, Giuseppe Commisso.

Commisso was, until his arrest last year in an Italian police sting, the head of one of the Calabrian Mafia's most powerful clans, based in the Calabrian town of Siderno.

RELATED CONTENT

Over the past two days Italian police launched action against more than 40 people, primarily in Italy but also in Germany, Canada and Australia, as a result of monitored phone conversations made by Commisso before his arrest.

Yesterday Mr Vallelonga, who was born in Calabria, denied that he was associated in any way with the 'Ndrangheta, but did accept that he had spoken to Commisso during a trip to Italy two years ago.

''I would have spoken to him personally or in restaurants or in cafes,'' he told The West Australian.

But he denied the allegations of criminality. ''I have not been arrested … I am involved with respectable people, not idiots,'' he told the paper.

But the Calabrian chief of police, Renato Cortese, confirmed they were seeking Mr Vallelonga over his alleged links to Mr Commisso.

The Perth man was allegedly caught discussing his council election with the mob boss, as well as his dissatisfaction with an Australian gangster.

Mr Vallelonga, who came to Australia in 1963, was mayor of Stirling in Perth's north from 1997 to 2005, and has served on the board of the WA Ethnic Community Council.

The federal police would not comment on his case yesterday, but did confirm that they had ''received a request for assistance from Italian authorities which was being progressed at a government-to-government level''.

A former New South Wales assistant police commissioner who specialised in organised crime investigations, Clive Small, said yesterday's news was further proof that the mafia problem in Australia was larger than the government and police would admit.

He noted there were clear mafia targets in Australia, men who were involved in corrupt relations with politicians, money laundering and drugs.

Vallelonga 'in a much worse position than Charles Zentai'

Aja Styles

http://www.smh.com.au/wa-news/vallelonga-in-a-much-worse-position-than-charles-zentai-20110311-1bqm7.html

MARCH 10 2011

The lawyer for a former Stirling mayor accused of being linked to the Italian mafia has called on the Commonwealth to reveal any extradition order being brought against his client by Italian authorities.

It is understood Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor has yet to receive an extradition request from Italian police, who are seeking to question Tony Vallelonga over taped conversations he had with a notorious Italian godfather, but says any extradition will be "a long process".

             
                    Lawyer John Hammond and his client Tony Vallelonga, who is accused of being a Mafia gangster.

Tony Vallelonga yesterday broke down in tears as his lawyer, John Hammond, acknowledged Italian authorities had issued an arrest warrant against his client for his alleged connection to 'Ndrangheta boss, Giuseppe Commisso.

Commisso was, until his arrest last year in an Italian police sting, the head of one of the Calabrian Mafia's most powerful clans, based in the Calabrian town of Siderno.

Over the past three days Italian police launched action against more than 40 people, primarily in Italy but also in Germany, Canada and Australia, as a result of monitored phone conversations made by Commisso before his arrest.

The longstanding local councillor and owner of at least nine registered businesses, including a large property development firm, had allegedly been caught on tape speaking to the crime boss during a visit to Italy in 2009.

warrant but had been informed his client, Domenicantonio Cosimo ''Tony'' Vallelonga, was wanted for questioning after finally getting through to Italian authorities.

The Australian government has so far revealed nothing about the extradition orders or produced the arrest warrant, but has acknowledged that a "request" from the Italian government had been received and nothing would happen until Mr Vallelonga was formally arrested and brought before an Australian court.

    
   Tony Vallelonga broke down in tears while speaking of the emotional toll on him and his family. 

A spokeswoman for Mr O'Connor would not confirm or deny if a request had been made but said any extradition request would be taken seriously and there was a long process in which such matters were considered.

Mr Hammond today said there had been a "breathtaking arrogance" displayed by Italian police and the Australian Government in not providing his client details of his arrest but allowed it to play out in the media.

"The Attorney General's office needs to state formally that it has been approached by the Italian police and an extradition order sought, if such an order has been sought, instead of leaving him living with the speculation day after day," he said.

Another Perth resident, Charles Zentai, has been fighting an extradition request from Hungary for alleged Nazi war crimes for the past six years.

I have not been arrested … I am involved with respectable people, not idiots.

"At least he was told why he was being extradited, we don't even know if my client is being extradited or what the charges are," Mr Hammond said.

"My client is in a much worse position than Charles Zentai."

Mr Hammond yesterday said his client would cooperate with Italian investigators, but any move to extradite him to Italy for questioning would be fought.

Mr Vallelonga today refused to speak however yesterday broke down in tears as he told reporters he was taking medication to cope with the stress, but reiterated his innocence.

"I will be fighting very hard because I am a man who fights hard for his community," he said.

"...It is very distressing. I am 64, this is what I call a campaign against me, that is what it is.

''I'm sorry I'm so emotional but I'm going through a very hard time."

He said he didn't understand why he was being targeted, saying he had only made two trips to Italy in 48 years.

"In 1988 I took my kids (to see) my heritage... 2009 I went back with my wife and many people have all respected me."

His son Sal and wife Mary were with him to show support. Mr Vallelonga jnr said his father had renounced his Italian citizenship to become and Australian.

"He is proud to be Australia," he said.

Mrs Vallelonga said she was angry and frustrated over the reports of the arrest warrant and alleged mafia links.

''I have to be strong for my husband because he's done nothing wrong,'' she said.

Mr Hammond said Mr Vallelonga had spoken to many people when he visited Italy in 2009 and he would not know if anyone was a member of the mafia, whatever that was defined as being.

''Mr Vallelonga has done absolutely nothing wrong.

''He is a man of propriety who has served his community unfailingly.''

Calabrian chief of police, Renato Cortese, confirmed this week that they were seeking Mr Vallelonga over his alleged links to Mr Commisso.

The Perth man was allegedly caught discussing his council election with the mob boss, as well as his dissatisfaction with an Australian gangster.

Mr Vallelonga, who came to Australia in 1963, was mayor of Stirling in Perth's north from 1997 to 2005, and has served on the board of the WA Ethnic Community Council.

The Australian Federal Police would not comment on his case but said a request had been made by Italian authorities which was being handled at a government to government level".

Vallelonga's mafia godfather 'link' the cause of an arrest warrant

Aja Styles and Dylan Welch

 MARCH 10 2011

http://www.smh.com.au/wa-news/vallelongas-mafia-godfather-link-the-cause-of-an-arrest-warrant-20110309-1bokb.html

The former mayor of Stirling Tony Vallelonga has broken down in tears as his lawyer acknowledged an arrest warrant had been issued against his client for his connection to a notorious Italian godfather.

Yesterday news broke that the West Australian property developer had been been caught up in a mafia crackdown by Italian police.

Mr Vallelonga's lawyer John Hammond said he had yet to see the warrant but had been informed his client, Domenicantonio Cosimo ''Tony'' Vallelonga, was wanted for questioning over his connections to the Calabrian Mafia, known as the 'Ndrangheta.

He said his client would cooperate with Italian investigators but any move to extradite him to Italy for questioning would be fought.

The way Italian authorities had leaked information about Mr Vallelonga being wanted ahead of any official action was ''shameful'', Mr Hammond said.

''It's certainly not very polite, it's very rude and arrogant to do this through international press releases.''

Mr Vallelonga today broke down in tears as he told reporters he was taking medication to cope with the stress, but reiterated his innocence.

"I will be fighting very hard because I am a man who fights hard for his community," he said.

  

Tony Vallelonga has broken down in tears while speaking of the emotional toll on him and his family.

"...It is very distressing. I am 64, this is what I call a campaign against me, that is what it is.

''I'm sorry I'm so emotional but I'm going through a very hard time."

    

   Tony Vallelonga (left) photographed at the Lexus Ball with media mogul Kerry Stokes and his wife Christine. 

He said he didn't understand why he was being targeted, saying he had only made two trips to Italy in 48 years.

"In 1988 I took my my kids (to see) my heritage... 2009 I went back with my wife and many people have all respected me."

I have not been arrested … I am involved with respectable people, not idiots.

His son Sal and wife Mary were with him to show support. Mr Vallelonga jnr said his father had renounced his Italian citizenship to become and Australian.

"He is proud to be Australia," he said.


Tony Vallelonga (right), who is accused of being a Mafia gangster, faces the media with his lawyer John Hammond.

Mrs Vallelonga said she was angry and frustrated over the reports of the arrest warrant and alleged mafia links.

''I'm having to be strong for my husband because he's done nothing wrong,'' she said.

His lawyer John Hammond said Mr Vallelonga had spoken to many people when he visited Italy in 2009 and he would not know if anyone was a member of the mafia, whatever that was defined as being.

''Mr Vallelonga has done absolutely nothing wrong.

''He is a man of propriety who has served his community unfailingly.''

The longstanding local councillor and owner of at least nine registered businesses, including a large property development firm, was yesterday accused by Italian police of having a relationship with 'Ndrangheta boss, Giuseppe Commisso.

Commisso was, until his arrest last year in an Italian police sting, the head of one of the Calabrian Mafia's most powerful clans, based in the Calabrian town of Siderno.

Over the past two days Italian police launched action against more than 40 people, primarily in Italy but also in Germany, Canada and Australia, as a result of monitored phone conversations made by Commisso before his arrest.

Yesterday Mr Vallelonga, who was born in Calabria, denied that he was associated in any way with the 'Ndrangheta, but did accept that he had spoken to Commisso during a trip to Italy two years ago.

''I would have spoken to him personally or in restaurants or in cafes,'' he told a state newspaper.

But he denied the allegations of criminality. ''I have always been an outstanding citizen and this hurts my family,'' he told media yesterday. ''I have not been arrested ... I am involved with respectable people, not idiots.''

But the Calabrian chief of police, Renato Cortese, confirmed they were seeking Mr Vallelonga over his alleged links to Mr Commisso.

The Perth man was allegedly caught discussing his council election with the mob boss, as well as his dissatisfaction with an Australian gangster.

Mr Vallelonga, who came to Australia in 1963, was mayor of Stirling in Perth's north from 1997 to 2005, and has served on the board of the WA Ethnic Community Council.

The federal police would not comment on his case yesterday, but did confirm that they had ''received a request for assistance from Italian authorities which was being progressed at a government-to-government level''.

Friends left shocked

Perth food identity and Calabrese-born butcher Vince Garreffa said he had known Mr Vallelonga for up to 30 years and was shocked by the news.

"I would hope for his sake he is innocent, you would not want to be smeared with these kinds of allegations. We moved away from Calabria to get away from all that s..t," Mr Garreffa said.

"It is a horrible, horrible thing to be caught up in because if he is innocent he has worked his bloody guts out (for the Perth community)."

Mr Garreffa's brother-in-law became a mafia target in Calabria and had to leave after his shop was set on fire and bullets fired through the front door.

"Once you're an enemy of the mafia, they don't stop," Mr Garreffa said.

But he said he was a proud Calabrian because Calabrians were hard workers and men of honour, who should not all be smeared with the same brush as gangsters.

He had never seen any corrupt, or gangster-style, behaviour by Mr Vallelonga while he served as mayor, Mr Garreffa said.

A former New South Wales assistant police commissioner who specialised in organised crime investigations, Clive Small, said yesterday's news was further proof that the mafia problem in Australia was larger than the government and police would admit.

He noted there were clear mafia targets in Australia, men who were involved in corrupt relations with politicians, money laundering and drugs.

- with AAP

Former Perth mayor caught up in international Mafia crackdown

Aja Styles  MARCH 9 2011

http://www.smh.com.au/wa-news/former-perth-mayor-caught-up-in-international-mafia-crackdown-20110309-1bn8x.html

A former WA mayor has admitted he was shocked that his name was linked to a multinational crackdown on the Mafia organised crime network which has led to dozens of arrests worldwide.

London's Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Italian crime authorities had issued 41 arrest warrants over the operation, and named one of the wanted men as Tony Vallelonga, a former mayor of Stirling - an inner-city Perth municipality with a population of 200,000 - who emigrated from the Italian region of Calabria 30 years ago.

Mr Vallelonga was identified as one of dozens of suspected gangsters allegedly belonging to Italy's most powerful Mafia organisation, the 'Ndrangheta, who were targeted in a police operation spanning three continents.

Police focused their efforts on dozens of people in Italy and Germany and issued arrest warrants for others in Canada and Australia, including Mr Vallelonga.

Mr Vallelonga, who had immediately retained lawyer John Hammond after hearing about the claims through reporters, has vigorously proclaimed his innocence.

"Very damaging, it's upset my family and I believe a man like myself who worked very hard for the community and over the years, not only charitable organisation, retirement village, you name it, I have always been an outstanding citizen and this hurts my family," Mr Vallelonga said.

Mr Hammond said there was no clear accusation brought against his client and he was not aware of any arrest warrant. He said reports on his client were "pure and utter speculation" and he threatened to to take defamation action over the reports.

"What has been said about Mr Vallelonga is absolutely outrageous," he said.


Lawyer John Hammond and his client Tony Vallelonga, who is accused of being a Mafia gangster. 

"He has no dealings with the Mafia, he is a man of impeccable standing with the West Australian community and his friends today are standing by him, so allegations being made in the press either directly or by innuendo are defamatory of my client and they are very dangerous.

"He should not be hung, drawn and quartered purely on speculation. There is nothing Mr Vallelonga has done that is wrong."

    
   Tony Vallelonga (left) photographed at the Lexus Ball with media mogul Kerry Stokes and his wife Christine.

He said despite numerous phone calls the AFP had not given him any information about the accusations and his client had received no official documentation to support the allegations. He was investigating whether it was a case of mistaken identity.

"I will be speaking with the Australian Federal Police and Mr Vallelonga, as you can imagine he is very upset about the allegations," Mr Hammond said earlier this morning.

       
    Italian police reveal a secret bunker where an alleged Mafia boss was found and arrested during the raids. 

"It comes as a complete surprise to Mr Vallelonga and shock, might I add, for both him and his family. Mr Vallelonga has an impeccable record of service to the community, particularly to the City of Stirling, where I believe he's a freeman of the city."

The Australian Federal Police have acknowledged a request has been made by Italian police for co-operation, but denied any knowledge of an arrest warrant. A spokeswoman said the matter was being handled at a "government to government level".

A spokeswoman for the federal Attorney-General's department said she could not confirm whether an extradition request had been sought.

"As a matter of long-standing practice, the Australian government does not disclose whether it has received an extradition request until the person is arrested or brought before a court pursuant to a request," she said.

"This is to avoid giving the person who is the subject of the extradition request the opportunity to flee and evade arrest."

Notorious organised crime network

The 41 suspects targeted in the operation were all alleged members of the 'Ndrangheta, the organisation based in Calabria that is now considered to be more powerful than the Cosa Nostra of neighbouring Sicily.

Police said the extent of the operation showed how the 'Ndrangheta had spread beyond its provincial roots to become one of the world's most effective cocaine trafficking networks.

Although it operates on an increasingly global basis, its most far-flung cells remain loyal to bosses in Calabria.

"'There is a perfect reproduction of the Calabrian model," said Giuseppe Pignatone, a prosecutor in Reggio Calabria, the regional capital of Calabria.

"The foreign groups always maintain contact with the centre of operations, which is the Reggio Calabria area, where they periodically come to take their orders, directives, long-term strategies, as well as give an account of what's going on. The fulcrum remains Calabria."

The 'Ndrangheta, which means "virtue" in the local dialect, makes billions of dollars a year trafficking cocaine around the world from South America.

Officers arrested 31 suspects in Italy, while six - all Italian citizens - were apprehended in Germany, near Konstanz on the border with Switzerland and in the state of Hesse to the north. They are expected to be extradited to Italy.

Among those picked up in Italy was Francesco Maisano, 46, an alleged boss.

The arrests stemmed from a wire-tapping operation by Italian police in which they recorded a senior Mafia suspect, Giuseppe Commisso, whose nickname in the Italian dialect is "u mastru" or "the master".

He allegedly issued orders from his Calabrian dry-cleaning shop to lieutenants around the world.

Those arrested could be charged with offences ranging from drug trafficking, money laundering and protection rackets to possession of firearms.

The operation was a follow-up to a raid in Italy last July in which more than 300 alleged 'Ndrangheta members were arrested.

The growing influence of the 'Ndrangheta was underlined by the recent release by WikiLeaks of a confidential cable from an American diplomat in Rome.

The envoy claimed that the criminal group's hold on Calabria was so pervasive that the region would be considered to be a failed state if it were not a part of Italy.

A life of service

Mr Vallelonga, otherwise known as Domenicantonio Cosimo Vallelonga, served as mayor of the City of Stirling  for eight years in the lead up to his retirement in 2005. He had previously served as a councillor for nine years prior to becoming mayor.

His long-service to the council included the foundation of many public buildings like the  city's civic and administration centre, local day centres and the Main Street Commercial precinct upgrade project, as well as helping the city host the Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships from 2007-09 and implement the meals on wheels program and the city's security service.

He was a Justice of the Peace and was made an honorary Freeman of the City of Stirling.

- with The Telegraph, London and AAP

Vallelonga offers to surrender passport

Aja Styles MARCH 16 2011

http://www.smh.com.au/wa-news/vallelonga-offers-to-surrender-passport-20110315-1bvm3.html

Former mayor of Stirling Tony Vallelonga has made a desparate plea to Australian authorities to spare his family an embarrassing arrest over claims he is linked to the Italian mafia.

Italian police confirmed last week they wanted to question Mr Vallelonga after recording a conversation with him and notorious 'Ndrangheta crime boss Guiseppe "Joseph" Commisso in Italy in 2009.

     
    Tony Vallelonga has broken down in tears while speaking of the emotional toll on him and his family

The sting on the 'Ndrangheta has resulted in 41 arrest warrants being issued, some of which extended to Germany, Canada and Australia.

The Australian Federal Police confirmed that the Italian authorities had been in talks with the Commonwealth regarding Mr Vallelonga.

AFP this week received a letter from Mr Vallelonga, who has vowed to surrender his passport while he awaits a potential extradition order in exchange that he be allowed to face court of his own free will, rather than be arrested.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor has refused to confirm or deny whether he was considering an extradition order, however a spokeswoman said that any extradition order would take awhile since the accused man had to first be arrested before facing an Australian court.

   
     Lawyer John Hammond and his client Tony Vallelonga, who is accused of being a Mafia gangster. 

Mr Vallelonga has vowed to fight any extradition bid. He has so far denied any wrongdoing, previously telling reporters that "I have always been an outstanding citizen and this hurts my family".

Gangsters in the 'land of kangaroos ... must come from our ranks'

Aja Styles MARCH 14 2011

http://www.smh.com.au/wa-news/gangsters-in-the-land-of-kangaroos--must-come-from-our-ranks-20110311-1br0i.html

Recorded conversations between the former Stirling mayor Tony Vallelonga and Mafia boss Joseph Commisso, the "Master", during a visit to the notorious godfather's Laundromat in Italy reveal there are "ranks" in Australia, according to the Italian press.

The conversation was taped by the Italian police (Carabinieri) as part of operations for the District Anti-Mafia Directorate of Reggio Calabria, led by prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone, to bring down the 'Ndrangheta's political empire.

Transcripts of the recordings have since leaked across European media, even before Mr Vallelonga has seen an arrest warrant.

A recent article titled "Australia is a land of conquest for the 'Ndrangheta" wrote about the taped conversations, spoken in a Calabrian dialect, between the two men in Siderno, Calabria, in 2009.

Mr Vallelonga breaks the ice by telling Commisso about his problems with a local newspaper, which had reported him being linked to the mafia after he was elected mayor, it reported.

Translated extract:

COMMISSIO: But you see that the Mafia are truly the ones who write the newspapers what the f... they want without anyone saying anything?

VALLELONGA: Yeah ... you know what I have [had happen] combined to me? ...(incomprehensible)... I have won with eighty percent of the vote ... and in a newspaper [they] wrote that I am part of the Mafia ...

COMMISSIO: Bastards! ...

VALLELONGA: But I won with eighty-five ...

COMMISSIO: So are all mafiosi ... (inc.)...

VALLELONGA: Well, I told him this ... eighty-five percent, [the] majority, [were happy] compliments ... sorry if you have any proof to me? ... otherwise I take it ... if there is no evidence ... [but] I got an article in the paper ... [saying it] is not Mr. Vallelonga (inc.) [winning] won with his credit ...

COMMISSIO: ... (inc.) ...

VALLELONGA: disgusting, dishonest ... [reporters] (inc.) ...

COMMISSIO: ... (inc.) ... I [would have]called the reporter and said: Who told you? ...

VALLELONGA: [he said]..."Your community has told me that you are..."... me? ... But I do not even know [the significance of the word] the word that means ... "[then] and why do you (inc.)[hang] around [them?]" ... I told him because I respect [the] people ...

[he then speaks further about how they felt about the far flocked men of the 'Ndrangheta]

"Commisso nods, even in Australia as in Italy, some journalists seem to take pleasure in speaking ill of 'cronies'," the article continued.

"But Tony Vallelonga has crossed the oceans to address another issue. Is there anyone out there in the land of kangaroos is moving bad.

"An emissary landed in Calabria and contacted the leaders of the various 'local'.

"Tony is polite but peremptory: 'If someone has intension to give something must come from our ranks'.

"The language is cryptic (the bosses have their own 'dialect' special). Translated, there is no room for others in Australia. Commisso reassures him 'I swear [it's] gossip, or are a man of peace'."

Comment was sought from Mr Vallelonga's lawyer John Hammond.




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Italian police say Mafia so entrenched in Australian politics and business it is impossible to stamp out

                                
                Photo:
 Detective-Superintendent Matt Warren said the mafia was robust and difficult to defeat. (ABC)

https://cairnsnews.org/2016/02/04/italian-police-say-mafia-so-entrenched-in-australian-politics-and-business-it-is-impossible-to-stamp-out/

Australia is a “state of Italy”

by  Charles Miranda

ITALIAN police have carried out a series of raids to smash a Mafia-led operation to smuggle cocaine to Australia that police say godfathers have now divided into six zones for trafficking drugs, extortion and money laundering.

And such is the entrenchment of Mafia links to Australia now, authorities say the country is virtually a state of Italy and it would be impossible to ever wipe out.

Authorities have uncovered a treasure trove of intelligence related to the fearsome Calabrian-based ’ Ndrangheta mafia group and their operations in Australia including members’ infiltration of key areas to assist in their trade, including transport and politics.

                         

                                   Gangster John Gotti , head of the Gambino family in USA

The police operation last week with raids on more than a dozen homes in Calabria has seen 14 members of clans linked to ’Ndrangheta arrested and charged with “criminal association linked to international drugs tracking”, namely to Australia and Canada.

One of eight refused bail is a police officer tasked with protection of a port but instead was allegedly providing guidance on evading controls and security for drug shipments.

The case was the culmination of five years of work by the Central Operational Service of the Italian National Police, a specialist Italian police squad from Calabria and the district’s Anti-Mafia Prosecutor’s Office.

Despite the success of arrests and uncovering intelligence on international operations through extensive listening devices, taps and surveillance, it may not assist the overall ’Ndrangheta crime fight in      Australia.

Italian police have now classed the mafia in Australia as so entrenched, they believe it would be impossible to stamp out completely with Australian police only able to make busts where they can.

“Australia is not a target nation any more, it’s now like a state of Italy from a criminal perspective,” a senior Italian officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, told News Corp Australia.

“They are entrenched in their activities and have been for a long time. They have not got an expansion strategy with your country any more, it’s not expansion, it’s consolidation. Australia, Canada, Belgium, United States, Germany are all countries where these crimes are being consolidated.”

’Ndrangheta work as “strictly a family-based enterprise, affiliation having to be through blood relation”.

According to evidence gathered by authorities, the group had designated six “locales” in Australia for Calabrian-linked mafia, not necessarily by state but by powerbase for extended family support and drug importation markets as well as large-scale construction contracts, paying of backhanders and racketeering. Each locale has its own mob boss that reports directly to Italy

Former WA mayor faces accusations he led mafia cell

Former Mayor Tony Vallelonga


Former Mayor Tony Vallelonga with media magnate Kerry Stokes


Court documents from ongoing proceedings in Italy also show Italian prosecutors allege Tony Vallelonga, who is the former mayor of Stirling in Perth, is the local leader of a mafia cell in Perth.

Court files allege that Mr Vallelonga is responsible for “making the most important decisions, imparting orders or imposing sanctions on other subordinate associates”.

The files allege Mr Vallelonga was concerned about a rival who wanted to start his own cell on Mr Vallelonga’s turf with the approval of Calabrian bosses.

Mr Vallelonga was allegedly recorded in an Italian laundromat recounting a conversation with his competitor where he allegedly said: “As long as I’m alive, you don’t get a locale [local mafia cell] … and that’s that!”

To which his rival responded: “You can’t be the man any more … enough!”

It comes after the prosecutors sought to question Mr Vallelonga over his dealings in Calabria with a notorious mafia boss.

Mr Valleonga has always denied the allegations and in a statement sent to the ABC, Mr Vallelonga’s lawyer said any allegation the former mayor had ever been involved in criminal activity was “completely without any foundation”.

Outside of the political arena, Italian police have identified another Australian allegedly working in Calabria who is part of the influential Alvaro family.

Some members of the family were recently subjects of an international anti-mafia operation when authorities seized tonnes of cocaine and made dozens of arrests.

Confidential Italian and Australian police files state that the Alvaro clan has arms in Australia.

They are allegedly headed by Adelaide construction figure Paul Alvaro, 64, and a New South Wales man.

The pair are among figures around the country, including in Griffith, New South Wales.

A police assessment said the individuals operate as “an executive board of directors” for the Calabrian Mafia.

Comments

Six Zones Hmmmm Five states and the Australian capital territories , In the sixties the Mafia in Australia said they were going to go legit , They started to buy into major businesses ( car dealers , Pubs , even farms and stations and this included a couple of small to medium meat works . ) BACK IN THE DAY THE NSW POLICE WERE SO CORRUPT THAT IF YOU DIDN’T PAY THEM THEY WOULD FIT YOU UP ,A Branch of hte mafia in thier own right ( CRIMINAL GANG ) My personal experience with them was that if I pulled up in one of my tow trucks and picked up a smashed car and didn’t pay them they would write up defect stickers on my trucks , I also had the displeasure of being held out the window of the Little Regent street police station window and threatened to be dropped because they knew I had 8 mm footage of the police robbing a Wynn’s store in Maroubra Junction . They were also running under aged girls in brothels and had uni students making acid tabs on blotting paper for them . The Question has to be asked who are the Australian mafia , and are some of those people currently and in the past in our countries seats of power and in our state and federal police forces . The old style Mafia is long gone and now the old mob boys have sent their children to university to become respectable criminals , As the saying went back in the sixties , Their are no criminals just alternative business people and if it was not for the straight people using their services their would be no Mafia .

Peter Schuback

Well said Peter. Editor

Terror diverts focus as Mafia 'board of directors' thrives

Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard

JULY 6 2015

http://www.smh.com.au/national/terror-diverts-focus-as-mafia-board-of-directors-thrives-20150703-gi4h7z.html

Italy's top anti-Mafia prosecutor and Australian police are warning that the massive diversion of law-enforcement resources to combat terrorism is eroding the fight against the Mafia and other serious organised crime groups.

Australian authorities have failed for decades to dismantle the "board of directors" of Calabrian Mafia godfathers across Australia, allowing them to entrench their drug trafficking operations, build alliances with outlaw bikie gangs and infiltrate government and police agencies.

A 2013 multi-agency police report warns "Ndrangheta Transnational Australian Groups" are posing an extreme risk to Australia.

                     

The Mafia's reach in Victoria. 

Italian anti-Mafia magistrate Dr Nicola Gratteri has also warned that the Australian government has risked allowing these organised crime groups to prosper.

"When social alarm is provoked over terrorism, governments are forced to invest in terrorism and not in Mafia … the Mafia celebrates because they know there are fewer resources," Dr Gratteri said. 

Senior police across Australia have confidentially backed these comments, saying that while terrorism was a clear priority, the focus on suspected jihadists had meant the shifting of important resources away from the fight against organised crime.

Three weeks ago, Dr Gratteri oversaw an international anti-Mafia operation, codenamed Santa Fe, which attacked the operations of the powerful Alvaro Mafia clan, seizing tonnes of cocaine and making dozens of arrests. 


The Mafia's reach in NSW. 

Confidential Italian and Australian police files state that the Alvaro clan has powerful cells operating in Australia, allegedly headed by Adelaide construction figure, Paul Alvaro, 64, and a NSW man. Mr Alvaro did not answer specific questions, but he denies any links to organised crime

The pair is aligned to a handful of figures in capital cities across the nation and in Griffith, NSW, who - according to a police assessment - operate as "an executive Board of Directors" for the Calabrian Mafia, or "Ndrangheta".

The board "comes together on an ad hoc basis particularly in times of crisis or when the low profile of [the Calabrian Mafia], so carefully cultivated and jealously protected, is threatened," police reports say.

NSW Police intelligence lists "the main" Calabrian Mafia clans as "the Sergi family, Trimboli family, Romeo family" who are all "based predominantly in the Griffith area." Only a very small number of members of these families are engaged in crime and there are many Italian families who share these common surnames but who are not connected to the Calabrian Mafia.

"The criminal activities engaged in by this network have been engaged in for decades with a high level of success. Members of the network have occasionally been apprehended and imprisoned, but on the whole, internal wrangling appears to have exacted a higher toll, as family members are murdered not infrequently," says one NSW police assessment.

In Victoria, court files allege that wealthy Melbourne businessman, Giuseppe "Bebbe" Manariti, was linked to the world's biggest ecstasy importation in Melbourne in 2007. 

Commonwealth prosecutors have alleged that Mr Manariti was briefed by the Mafia importers, stating that he was "interested in unfolding events" linked to the massive shipment.

Mr Manariti, who has never faced criminal charges, is a close associate of alleged Melbourne Mafia boss Tony Madafferi and the pair, along with deceased Mafia leader Rosario Gangemi, are considered by police to have previously formed a "trinity" that directed the Calabrian Mafia's Melbourne operations. 

Both Mr Manariti and Mr Madafferi were previously identified in a top secret 1995 anti-Mafia operation as members of the group also known as the Honoured Society.

Mr Madafferi could not be reached for comment but has previously denied any involvement in organised crime. Mr Manariti could not be reached for comment.

The police files also reveal that the Calabrian Mafia has built close ties to outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs), including the Rebels and Bandidos.

"This is particularly evident with identified connections to the Sydney and North Coast Bandidos OMCG and the Canberra and Batemans Bay Rebels OMCG. There is also intelligence of links to the Finks OMCG through associates."

Dr Gratteri's warning about the diversion of resources away from the organised crime fight echoes a classified National Crime Authority report in 2003.

"It is suggested that they [Australia's Mafia cells] will neither decline nor cease their activities in the foreseeable future due to their long entrenched history in criminality in Australia, the steady market demand for cannabis and other illicit drugs and the diversion of law enforcement efforts to other areas."

Watch part two of a joint Fairfax and ABC Four Corners mafia investigation on ABC1 8.30 PM Monday.


Australian figures linked to Calabrian Mafia revealed; experts warn more police focus needed on organised crime

Four Corners  By Alison Branley

Updated 6 Jul 2015,

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-06/calabrian-mafia-continues-flourish-despite-police-operations/6596192

Australian figures linked to Calabrian Mafia revealed; experts warn more police focus needed on organised crime
              

PHOTO: The Calabrian Mafia continues to flourish in Australia despite major police operations. (Flickr: mynameisgeebs)

RELATED STORY: Call for political donation reform after Mafia linked to politicians

RELATED STORY: Italian mafia group linked to senior politicians, investigation reveals

MAP: Australia

PHOTO: Detective-Superintendent Matt Warren said the mafia was robust and difficult to defeat. (ABC)
     

PHOTO: Clive Small says the authorities have ignored recommendations to set up a long term anti-mafia offensive.(ABC)

Nick McKenzie's brush with the mafia

    

How one call from entrepreneurial drug trafficker Pat Barbaro plunged journalist Nick McKenzie into an Australian mafia investigation.

Australian authorities cannot afford to let their focus on terrorism allow them to become complacent about the reach of the Calabrian Mafia, organised crime experts have warned.

A joint Fairfax/ABC investigation into the Calabrian Mafia has further exposed the influence of the group across Australia.

It found policing authorities have failed to dismantle a "board of directors" of Calabrian Mafia heads across Australia, which has allowed them to continue illicit drug trades, form links with bikie groups, and infiltrate all levels of government.

It has prompted anti-mafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri to warn that while police around the world focus on terrorism, the tentacles of the Calabrian Mafia could be going unchecked.

"When social alarm is provoked over terrorism, governments are forced to invest in terrorism and not in mafia ... the mafia celebrates because they know there are fewer resources," Dr Gratteri said.

"I think Australia should look at the mafia problem, the 'Ndrangheta problem, again and not measure the presence or the strength of 'Ndrangheta or any mafia by the number of people killed on the street or shootings at shop windows."

Instead, Dr Gratteri said authorities should examine the supply and control of cocaine being sold at bars, pubs and clubs.

"Because whoever controls the cocaine, with those earnings they buy all the property for sale. In that way they control the market, they control the economy," he said.

His view is backed by Australian experts past and present who have investigated the mafia dealings.

In the second of a two-part Four Corners series, investigative journalist Nick McKenzie examines the link between a number of Australian politicians, from local to federal government, and alleged Australian Calabrian Mafia figures.

Among them is a former mayor of an area in Perth and a Labor Party figure from Melbourne.

New South Wales police files also reveal the Calabrian Mafia has built close ties to outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs), including the Rebels and Bandidos.

"This is particularly evident with identified connections to the Sydney and North Coast Bandidos OMCG and the Canberra and Batemans Bay Rebels OMCG. There is also intelligence of links to the Finks OMCG through associates," the files state.

Victorian Labor party delegate had close ties to Mafia

The ABC has evidence Victorian Labor Party delegate Michael Teti, who is now an ALP councillor at Moreland City Council in Melbourne, spent months doing banking for and running the fruit business of convicted crime boss Frank Madafferi.

While there is no suggestion Mr Teti was involved in drug trafficking, he allegedly supplied a gun to one of Madafferi's mafia henchmen which was then used to threaten a woman.

Mr Teti was later found guilty of carrying a loaded gun in a public place and placed on a good behaviour bond.

Documents obtained show that Mr Teti acted as an adviser and gofer for Madafferi while the mafia boss was facing serious drug trafficking charges.

Madafferi was convicted over the world's largest ever drug bust in 2007, when authorities seized four tonnes of ecstasy tablets imported in tomato cans.

During this period, Mr Teti also secured one of Madafferi's associates a job in federal Labor senator Mehmet Tillem's office.

There is no suggestion Mr Tillem, who is no longer a senator, knew Mr Teti or that his now former employee had close ties to Madafferi.

In March, despite knowledge within the Labor Party of Mr Teti's ties to a crime figure, the ALP invited him as a delegate to the party's state conference, allowing him to vote on policy and party issues.

Following inquiries from the ABC, the ALP said on the weekend it would now seek to expel Mr Teti from its Victorian branch.

Mr Teti denies any wrongdoing and said he only had a professional relationship with Madafferi.

Former WA mayor faces accusations he led mafia cell

Court documents from ongoing proceedings in Italy also show Italian prosecutors allege Tony Vallelonga, who is the former mayor of Stirling in Perth, is the local leader of a mafia cell in Perth.

Court files allege that Mr Vallelonga is responsible for "making the most important decisions, imparting orders or imposing sanctions on other subordinate associates".

The files allege Mr Vallelonga was concerned about a rival who wanted to start his own cell on Mr Vallelonga's turf with the approval of Calabrian bosses.

Mr Vallelonga was allegedly recorded in an Italian laundromat recounting a conversation with his competitor where he allegedly said: "As long as I'm alive, you don't get a locale [local mafia cell] ... and that's that!"

To which his rival responded: "You can't be the man any more ... enough!"

It comes after the prosecutors sought to question Mr Vallelonga over his dealings in Calabria with a notorious mafia boss.

Mr Valleonga has always denied the allegations and in a statement sent to the ABC, Mr Vallelonga's lawyer said any allegation the former mayor had ever been involved in criminal activity was "completely without any foundation".

Outside of the political arena, Italian police have identified another Australian allegedly working in Calabria who is part of the influential Alvaro family.

Some members of the family were recently subjects of an international anti-mafia operation when authorities seized tonnes of cocaine and made dozens of arrests.

Confidential Italian and Australian police files state that the Alvaro clan has arms in Australia.

They are allegedly headed by Adelaide construction figure Paul Alvaro, 64, and a New South Wales man.

The pair are among figures around the country, including in Griffith, New South Wales.

A police assessment said the individuals operate as "an executive board of directors" for the Calabrian Mafia.

Police focus on organised crime needed, say experts

Experts both local and abroad have suggested law enforcement authorities need to allocate more resources to keeping organised crime in check.

A 2013 multi-agency report warned that "'Ndrangheta Transnational Australian Groups posed a major organised crime risk to Australia".

Former New South Wales police assistant commissioner Clive Small investigated the Calabrian Mafia as part of the Woodward Royal Commission.

He said authorities had been denying for 16 years there was Calabrian Mafia in Australia and had ignored recommendations to set up a long-term anti-mafia offensive.

"If we say it doesn't exist, then we don't have to do anything because there's nothing to respond to and I think that's the problem," he said.

"It's been hidden from the public because it's too big a political problem."

Detective Superintendent Matt Warren, who led Australia's biggest mafia bust, said the mafia was robust and could regroup better than any other organised crime syndicate after major convictions.

"What we've seen is that these groups are very difficult to defeat," he said.

"In the past where they've suffered defeats at the hands of law enforcement ... through those family connections they're able to rebuild.

"They will reorganise and they'll continue to conduct unlawful activity, drug importations, white collar crime, because it's their business."

Their concern echoes a classified 2003 National Crime Authority report obtained by the ABC.

"It is suggested that they [Australia's mafia cells] will neither decline nor cease their activities in the foreseeable future due to their long entrenched history in criminality in Australia, the steady market demand for cannabis and other illicit drugs and the diversion of law enforcement efforts to other areas," it states.

Detective Superintendent Warren said the mafia would try to cultivate people from all walks of life, particularly those with influence.

"We certainly see organised crime figures cultivating sporting stars. It's no different with political figures," he said.

"They're looking to try and gain influence and gain power and use that towards potentially diverting attention away from themselves."

Mr Small was surprised by the amount of contact mafia figures had with Australian politicians.

"I can't believe our politicians are so dopey that, having known the allegations, that they continued to have a fund, to accept money from a fundraiser," he said.

"I find that so extremely difficult to understand how they could do it or how they could be so naïve."

Topics: crimedrug-offencespoliceaustralia

First posted 5 Jul 2015,





The Fine Line of Influence
A secret multi-agency police report in 2013 reveals thge "insidious ways" the Mafia in Australia
 "enter the social or professional world of public officials and through legitimate processes achieve influence."



The Calabrian Mafia's Biggest Hits




'I'm going to cut his 'f***in' head off': How the Calabrian mafia
came to Australia in the 1920s and brought murder and
a billion dollar drug trade which is now controlled by 31 families across the nation

Sixty percent of Australia's drug trade is controlled by 31 Italian families

Mafia in Australia began in 1920s with shootings among Italian immigrants

New book by a former policeman details history of the mafia in Australia

Today, 31 Calabrian mafia families in Australia report to five families in Italy

By Candace Sutton for Daily Mail Australia


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3400577/How-31-Calabrian-mafia-families-control-60-percent-Australia-s-drug-trade.html


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3400577/How-31-Calabrian-mafia-families-control-60-percent-Australia-s-drug-trade.html#ixzz4eyL06uGJ 
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 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3400577/How-31-Calabrian-mafia-families-control-60-percent-Australia-s-drug-trade.html

It sounds like a scene from The Godfather/

But it happened in downtown Melbourne, when one Australian member of the Calabrian mafia threatened to kill another over a 1.2 million Ecstasy tablet importation scheme that was coming unstuck.

Francesco 'Frank' Madafferi is from one of Australia's 31 Calabrian mafia families who are believed to control 60 per cent of Australia's illicit drug trade.

In July 2008, Madafferi was highly agitated about a drug syndicate underling called Pino Varallo, who he was threatening to 'chop into little pieces' and eat 'one bite at a time'.

Caught on Australian Federal Police telephone intercepts, Madafferi was talking down the phone to ecstasy drug syndicate boss, Pasquale Barbaro, complaining that the tablets he had sold cheaply for $8 each had been onsold by Varallo for $8.50.

Scroll down for video 

   

    Ecstasy importer Pasquale Barbaro, pictured under police surveillance with drug syndicate henchman, 
   Jan Visser,  in Melbourne comes from a Calabrian Italian family one of just 31 in Australia who control drug trades

Ecstasy importer Pasquale Barbaro, pictured under police surveillance with drug syndicate henchman, Jan Visser, in Melbourne comes from a Calabrian Italian family one of just 31 in Australia who control drug trades

When Barbaro put Varallo on to talk, Madafferi claimed the right to set the price of ecstasy in his home city, although acknowledging that the other states were under Barbaro's control.

'[I'm] responsible fo Melbourne... Melbourne is mine,' he yelled at Varallao, warning him not to 'break my f***ing balls on my f***ing turf'.

In the ensuing days, Madafferi did not let up telling Barbaro: 'I'm going to pull his f***ing head off ... I'm going to eat him alive. Tell him that he can go get his f***ing coffin, get it f***ing ready.'

A terrified Varallo told Barbaro that Madafferi was 'going off his rocker... off his tree' and had threatened to slit Varallo's throat or shoot him. 

Barbaro told Madafferi he had authorised Varallo to sell the ecstasy an $8.50 a pill and an uneasy truce was called.


      

  Australia's most notorious godfather 'Aussie Bob' Trimbole was sought for the murder of anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay in 1977

Mackay in 1977

      

    Griffith furniture retailer and anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay (pictured with his wife Barbara and son James) 
     was murdered in a 1977 hit organised by godfather of the local cannabis trade, Bob Trimbole

   

     These are the tomato tins filled with ecstasy pills imported from Calabria that were part of two $22.5 million drug importations
     by the Pasquale Barbaro syndicate that came unstuck causing tensions

   

   Melbourne mafia don Frank Madafferi, from one of Australia's 31 Calabrian mafia families
   that control 60 per cent of the Australian drug trade, 
   threatened to chop Pino Varallo 'into little pieces' and eat 'one bite at a time'

The real scene is relayed in a new book Evil Life, published by Allen and Unwin, and written by former NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Clive Small and journalist and writer Tom Gilling.

In dramatic and often thrilling scenes, the authors recount the history of the mafia in Australia, beginning in the 1920s when shootings, bombings and extortions began among Italian immigrants to a new life.

What was to become the Australian mafia came exclusively from Calabria, the region in the far southern 'boot' of Italy, known for its rugged territory and its secret societies. 

In their new country, this handful of families were controlled back in Calabria and known as 'Ndrangheta, which means heroism or manly virtue.

'Ndrangheta was to flourish and thrive, with Australia's most senior crime-fighting group refusing, to their peril, for almost two decades to acknowledge their existence in this country.

      


   On the morning of February 11, 1930 Domenico Belle was stabbed to death at Newtown train station 
   in inner city Sydney after attempting to collect a debt from barbershop owner Giuseppe Mammone


     

   Stabbed to death at Newtown in Sydney in 1930, Domenico Belle (above) was one of the first Calabrian mafia deaths 
   in Australia perpetrated by Italian immigrants who brought with them their feared society 'Ndrangheta

       
     Giuseppe Parisi 

   In 1934 in far Northern Queensland, Giuseppe Parisi (above) and Giuseppe Bueti held down Giovanni Iacona  while a third man, Nicola Mamone, cut off his ears

    
   Giuseppe Bueti

   After Parisi and Giuseppe Bueti (pictured) held down Iaccona while Nicola Mamone cut off his ears, 
   Iacona shot Mamone six times in the head

     

   Francesco Gugliemo Femio 

   Queensland, Giuseppe Parisi (above, left) and Giuseppe Bueti (centre) held down Giovanni Iacona  
   while a third man, Nicola Mamone, cut off his ears.
    Iacona later murdered Mamone. Francesco Gugliemo Femio (above, right) 
    was murdered by a Black Hand assassin in 1936

   

  Rocco Medici (pictured) was one of two men tortured and killed in 1984 near Griffith, NSW, which was the centre of Australia's cannabis trade


     

  Scarcella (above) was fatally hit with three blasts from a shotgun at his stables near Ingham, Queensland.

In 1935, prosperous cane farmer Domenico Scarcella (above) was fatally hit with three blasts from a shotgun at his stables near Ingham, Queensland

'I don't list their names because they are common Italian family names in Australia.'

For example, Small said, at least two mafia bosses had been called Pasquale Barbaro - the Griffith drugs boss also called 'Il Principale' who was murdered in an 'Ndrangheta hit in Brisbane in 1989 and the ecstasy importation boss who is currently in jail.

Small says the Calabrian mafia infiltrated capital cities and country towns and intermarried, Il Principale describing at one point the two or three dozen bosses - 10 from Sydney, 6-8 from Melbourne, Adelaide and Mildura and 11 from Griffith - nine of whom were related to Barbaro by marriage.

He recounts the agenda items of an 1989 meeting of 20 senior 'Ndrangheta in a backyard shed in Adelaide, in which police bugs picked up talk about mafia rituals, revenge killings, cannabis production and weapons purchases.

They also discussed the need to infiltrate police and the judiciary, use 'government friends' and access criminal intelligence through corrupt police.

'This later happened,' Small said.

In fascinating detail, the book takes the spread of the mafia from Queensland canefields where in the 1930s early Calabrian immigrants ran prostitution rackets of 13 and 14-year-old girls to the labourers, to the big cities and the NSW country town of Griffith, which was eventually the centre of the Calabrian cannabis production.

Small says in Australia between the 1920s and 1940s the 'Ndrangheta committed 10 murders, multiple woundings and 30 bombings.

Known then as 'the Black Hand', this emerging violent group introduced practices including gruesome mutilations and revenge killings that alarmed Australians.

On the morning of February 11, 1930 Domenico Belle was stabbed to death at Newtown train station after attempting to collect a debt from barbershop owner Giuseppe Mammone

In 1934 Italian barber Nicola Mamone was shot six times from behind while walking with a friend in Innisfail, in far northern Queensland. 

His killer, Giovanni Iacona had allegedly been involved in a fight with Mamone, who had cut off both of Iacona's ears while two men, Gisueppe Bueti and Giuseppe Parisi, held him down. 

A year later, prosperous cane farmer Domenico Scarcella was fatally hit with three blasts from a shotgun at his stables near Ingham, Queensland.

By the 1960s, the Calabrian were 'well-organised and entering the drug trade', Small said.

      


   The scene at Newtown Station in inner city Sydney after startled Australians learnt of 
    one of Australia's earliest mafia hits by a barbershop owner on Domenico Belle





    Drug baron Bob Trimbole 

  Drug baron Bob Trimbole was credited with organising the hit on Donald Mackay but escaped overseas, eventually dying in Spain

   James Bazley

Drug baron Bob Trimbole (above) organised the hit on Donald Mackay but escaped overseas.
 James Bazley (above, right) was charged with having conspired with others to murder Mackay

      

  Police conduct aerial surveillance of an orange orchard near Griffith in 2011. 
     It is one of four sites in which marijuana crops were found hidden in vegetaion

Robert Trimbole was to become synonymous with the Griffith 'grass mafia' and Australia's first 'Godfather' and drug baron

Trimbole went into the cannabis business with their orange growing neighbours, the Sergis, in 1970.

When furniture retailer and anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay disappeared from a hotel car park in Griffith in 1977, the town's reputation as Australia's 'marijuana capital' and home to Italian mobsters was cemented.

The murder led to the Woodward Royal Commission into drug trafficking. The by now notorious 'Aussie Bob' Trimbole was sought for Mackay's murder, but fled overseas and died in Spain in 1987, aged 56.

      

   Saviero Zirilli (pictured after his arrest in 2008) was a member of the Calabrian mafia drug ring 
    who thought they were goign to get rich from a multi-million dollar ecstasy importation that landed him in prison

      

   Scenes from the Ingham bombing in far northern Queensland. It was one of several atrocities carried out in the 1920s
    in which Black Hand boss Vincenzo Dagostino spread fear

       

    Police burn part of a $23 million cannabis crop uncovered in 2011 raids at
    Griffith, NSW - Australia's notorious drug capital

     

   The tomato tins filled with Ecstasy tablets that were imported into Australia and sat on the Melbourne wharf 
    for six months while the drug syndicate wondered if police were surveilling them

      

     Ecstasy pills that were part of the giant 2008 importation, stamped with the symbol of a kangaroo

Clive Small acted as an investigator in the royal commission, working in Griffith examining the Calabrian families intimately involved in the drug trade.

He tables in his book the astonishing dominance by Calabrians of Australia's cannabis trade which at one point, according to arrest statistics, was 80 per cent controlled by Calabrians who came from 14 closely related families in Griffith.

      

    Calabrian mafia boss Pasquale Barbaro pictured after his arerest for running a syndicate which imported millions of ecstasy tablets

Small says that the 'Ndrangheta is politically an equal opportunity group with connections in both Labor and Liberal Coalition parties.

In 1994, National Crime Authority senior investigator Detective Sergeant Geoffrey Bowen was killed in a targeted bombing of the NCA's Adelaide office.

Bowen had been investigating the 'Ndrangheta's involvement in the Australian drug trade.

But for the 16 years after the tragedy, Small says the NCA, which became the Australian Crime Commission, 'remained silent or denied there was a mafia in Australia' and as a consequence the mafia flourished.

In 2007, Pasquale Barbaro's syndicate imported $10 million of ecstasy in tomato tins from Italy. The pill crammed tomato tins sat on the Melbourne wharf as Barbaro wondered whether a rival gang had appropriated the importation or the Australian Federal Police had him under surveillance.

The latter was true. The AFP spent tens of thousands of hours keeping Barbaro, Frank Madafferi and their gang under video and phone intercept surveillance.

Back in Calabria, the 'Ndrangheta godfathers were putting on presure to be paid their $10 million.

      

   Police spent tens of thousands of hours keeping Pasquale Barbaro (second from right) and 
   his gang including (left to right) John Higgs, Rob Karam and Saviero Zirilli under video and phone intercept surveillance.

   John Higgs

    Carmelo Falanga 

Pasquale Barbaro's Calabrian mafia drug syndicate associates John Higgs following his arrest in 2008 after federal police blew apart their ecstasy importation ring

Carmelo Falanga (above right) following his arrest in 2008 after federal police blew apart their ecstasy importation ring




   The ecstasy haul, uncovered by the Australian Federal Police in 2007, and 
   kept as the Calabrian mafia tried to work out whether the police knew about the drugs of a rival gang had appropriated their haul



 Rob Karam (pictured) was arrested after police swooped and made multiple arrests across four states
 in relation to the importation of millions of ecstasy tablets from Calabria

Barbaro flew to Calabria and brokered a deal whereby a further shipments of 1.2 million tablets would arrive and be distributed in Sydney, Melbourne, South Australia and Western Australia.

A profit of $12.5m was sent back to the suppliers to cover the $10m Calabrian debt, and as a down payment on the second shipment. The AFP then swooped and made multiple arrests across four states.

Clive Small has high praise for the AFP's operation in the tomato tin case.

'It was a very good operation. I want to emphasise that. And for 'Ndramngheta it was a significant setback,' he said.

'But it was only a temporary setback. I am confident that the Calabrian mafia is operating drug deals across Australia at this very second and that they have affiliations with both political parties,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'There have been 35 murders since Donald Mackay's by the Calabrian mafia and that does not include domestic murders.

The 31 mafia families in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia have business connections with the nine leading 'Ndrangheta families in Plati, San Luca, Sinopoli and Africo where the bulk of Calabrian migration to Australia originated.

'History shows that for 'Ndrangheta busiens is ultimately all that matters,' he said.

Evil Life, by Clive Small and Tom Gilling, published by Allen and Unwin $32.99 is available from January 27 throughout Australia.

     

     Clive Small says that the Calabrian mafia have carried out at least 35 murders since killing anti-drugs 
campaigner Donald Mackay (pictured, right, back) 
with his wife Barabra and their four children in Easter 1977, shortly before he vanished

Read more:

Evil Life - Clive Small and Tom Gilling - 9781742374925 - Allen & Unwin - Australia



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3400577/How-31-Calabrian-mafia-families-control-60-percent-Australia-s-drug-trade.html#ixzz4eyMPywxT 
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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3400577/How-31-Calabrian-mafia-families-control-60-percent-Australia-s-drug-trade.html#ixzz4eyLnikG4 
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Rocco Medici (pictured) was one of two men tortured and killed in 1984 near Griffith, NSW, which was the centre of Australia's cannabis trade

Culturally, the Sicilian mafia known as the Cosa Nostra is more well known outside Italy than 'Ndrangheta, but in the late 1990s and early 2000s 'Ndrangheta became Italy's most powerful crime syndicate.

'[To this day] the 31 Calabrian mafia families across Australia report to five families in Calabria, which are really nine families integrated by marriage,' Clive Small told Daily Mail Australia about the new facts he reveals in his book.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3400577/How-31-Calabrian-mafia-families-control-60-percent-Australia-s-drug-trade.html#ixzz4eyLWxNVp 
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Sydney crime figure Pasquale Barbaro shot dead, Joe Antoun’s death caught on video

Posted on November 16, 2016 by Robbo

https://aussiecriminals.com.au/tag/calabrian-mafia/

Nine people charged following execution of Sydney crime figure Pasquale Barbaro

 on November 30, 2016, 10:08 am

Nine people have been charged following the bloody execution of crime figure Pasquale Barbaro, after a series of police raids in Sydney.

Tuesday’s co-ordinated sting unfolded just after midday when heavily armed officers raided more than a dozen properties including four at Sydney’s Olympic Park.

A total of 13 search warrants were executed and nine men aged from 18-29 were charged.

“All those charged with substantive murder were charged in relation to Pasquale Barbaro,” Assistant Commissioner Mark Jenkins told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

       
   Barbaro was left for dead on a Sydney pavement. Nine people have now been charged over the 35-year-old’s death
 
     

    Barbaro, 35, was shot dead on an Earlwood footpath two weeks ago.

  Four of the nine men are facing murder charges and will appear in Sydney courts on Wednesday.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione launched Strike Force Osprey less than two weeks ago after a spate of bloody executions of notorious crime figures on Sydney’s streets.

“There is no end game. We will continue to target these individuals through methodical investigations and disruption strategies. There will be ongoing arrests. We will be protecting the State of NSW. We will be not tolerating any individual who has a total disregard for the community of this state and its laws,” Acting Deputy Commissioner Frank Mennilli said on Wednesday.

The other five men are facing criminal group charges and have court dates for December and January.

    
    Photo: NSW Police
   
  Photo: NSW Police
     
     Photo: NSW Police

Officers from Strike Force Osprey worked with officers from Strike Force Raptor, which was set up in November last year investigating the activities of the Burwood Chapter of the Rebels Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.

Both forces were involved in Tuesday’s raids.

During the raid more than 40 mobile phones, 11 cars, a safe, cash, stolen NSW Police ID was seized and will now be examined by specialist forensic accountants from the Fraud and Cybercrime Squad.

Police from Strike Force Raptor also seized 20 long arms, 23 hand guns, 15 prohibited weapons, including ballistic vests and masks, silencers, a stun gun, and a homemade pipe gun; ammunition, methylamphetamine, and ecstasy, police said on Wednesday.

With eight shooting deaths over the past 17 months in Sydney, police have vowed to stamp out gangland warfare.

Just weeks before Mafia figure Barbaro was shot in Earlwood as he was getting into his Mercedes on November 14, hitman Hamad Assaad, 29, was shot in Georges Hall on October 25.


Pasquale Barbaro pictured with Brothers for Life leader Farhad Qaumi.

The shooting scene. 

In April, gangland kingpin and convicted killer Walid Ahmad, 40, was killed in a spray of bullets on the rooftop car park of Bankstown Central shopping centre.

His murder is believed to be in retaliation for the fatal shooting of Safwan Charbaji outside a Condell Park panel beater several weeks earlier.

The month before that Michael Davey was shot dead in a driveway in a drive-by shooting in Kingswood. Believed to be a member of the Rebels motorcycle gang, Davey had escaped injury during a shooting at a shopping centre the previous year.

Police hunt for gangland killer

    

 Police forensics teams establish a crime scene after Pasquale Barbar (inset) was killed. 

   Police from the NSW Public Order and Riot squad arrive at the scene this morning. Picture: AAP
   

   The crime scene in Earlwood.

§  Sam Buckingham-Jones

 A man executed on a suburban street is a member of a family linked to Sydney’s criminal underworld.

    
   Pasquale Barbaro.


  Who was Pasquale Barbaro?

  By Liv Casben and Lucy Carter

      

    Sydney crime figure, Pasquale Timothy Barbaro, was shot in a targeted killing in Sydney’s inner-west.

 Related Story: Sydney crime figure shot dead in ‘targeted attack’
    

Pasquale Timothy Barbaro was a notorious Sydney crime figure and part of a family with known links to the Calabrian mafia, from Italy.

The 35-year-old’s murder last night at Earlwood in Sydney’s inner west was one of several targeted shootings in Sydney this year.

The Barbaro family is well known to police and the criminal underworld.

His grandfather, who was also named Pasquale Barbaro, was murdered in a gangland hit in Brisbane in 1990 after turning police informant.

A cousin — another Pasquale Barbaro — was murdered in a hit in Melbourne in 2003alongside notorious crime figure Jason Moran.

His uncle, yet another Pasquale Barbaro, is currently serving a 30-year sentence over a massive ecstasy bust — the world’s biggest — discovered in Melbourne in 2007.

Pasquale Timothy Barbaro — killed last night in Earlwood — survived a targeted shooting in Leichhardt in November last year.

Why was he targeted?

There are a number of theories.

Pasquale Timothy Barbaro was due to face the Sydney District Court in December over the production of the drug ice (crystal methamphetamine).

Crime journalist Keith Moor says there are suspicions Mr Barbaro may have been a police informant.

“The suspicion is he was probably killed for breaking the code of ‘omerta’ which is the code of silence,” Mr Moor said.

“The suggestion I’m getting is the dead Pasquale Barbaro was telling tales about the operations of the Calabrian mafia — as was his grandfather way back in the 1990’s.”

Equally, Mr Moor said the killing could be because of something unrelated to gang crime.

“He was involved in a number of criminal offences [including] drugs,” Mr Moor said.

“He’s obviously made some enemies [and there have been] attempts on his life in the past.

“It could boil down to something as simple as a domestic — there have been a number of Calabrian crime figures murdered because they’ve left their wives or slept with the wrong person,” he said.

One thing is clear according to NSW Police Superintendent David Johnson: Mr Barbaro was “clearly the intended victim” of last night’s Earlwood shooting.

Links to other shootings

There was a failed hit on Pasquale Timothy Barbaro‘s life in November last year.

Hamad Assaad, who was shot dead at his Georges Hall home just two weeks ago, was one of the major suspects in that attempted hit.

The Assaad shooting on October 25 has links to another targeted shooting in Bankstown in May.

Superintendent David Johnson said at a press conference today that police can’t comment on whether the murders are related.

“I can’t comment on the homicide investigations or strike forces as they are set up,” Mr Johnson said.

“I can’t say whether these matters are related because I don’t know the answer to that.”

The Calabrian Mafia in Australia

Crime journalist Keith Moor said the Barbaro family’s crime history stretches back decades in Australia.

“They’re going back way before the 1977 murder of Donald Mackay in Griffith,” Mr Moor said.

“The dead Barbaro from Sydney overnight… was literally born into the Calabrian mafia.

“It’s a trait that’s passed on from father to son,” he said.

Mr Moor said the Calabrian mafia is more active than people might realise in Australia.

“If anyone smoked a joint in the 60s, 70s, 80s — and lets face it a lot of people did — they were lining the pockets of the Calabrian mafia,” he said.

“They gradually got into the heroin trade… then they expanded to ecstasy.

“They basically recognised what the next big thing was in the drug market.”

Police found the man, 35-year-old Pasquale Barbaro, on an Earlwood footpath after being alerted to a shooting at about 9.40pm on Monday.

And a grey Audi Q7 found burned out in Sydney’s inner west could be the getaway car used in the execution-style shooting of a man linked to Sydney’s criminal underworld, say police.

Execution of standover man filmed

Meanwhile, the front door execution in 2013 of standover man Joe Antoun, a known associate of underworld figure George Alex, was captured on CCTV and played for a Sydney courtroom today – hours after Pasquale Barbaro was gunned down outside Alex’s home.

Mr Antoun was gunned down on the doorstep of his Strathfield home in Sydney’s inner west on December 16, 2013, in a contract killing allegedly arranged by Brothers 4 Life boss Farhad Quami and his brother Mumtaz.

Farhad, 34, and Mumtaz Quami, 31, have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Antoun, who worked as a debt collector.

In their trial, CCTV footage was played showing a hooded figure waiting for several minutes before pulling out a handgun and firing several times.

The Daily Telegraph reported Crown Prosecutor Ken McKay SC told their NSW Supreme Court trial before a judge alone Antoun was at home with his wife when a camera showed a man at their front door.

“(Mr Antoun’s wife) went to a window and looked out and saw a person and called out to that person, asking who it was. The person she heard say, ‘It’s Adam. I’ve got a package for Joe’,” Mr McKay said.

“At about this time, Joseph Antoun opened the front door. There was a wire security door which was still closed. As he opened the door, Mr Antoun was shot a number of times and died in his house, it seems very quickly after being.”

The court heard, according to The Daily Telegraph, that before Antoun’s death his former business partner Elias “Les” Elias had agreed to purchase Mimtaz Qaumi’s Erina Kebab House for $190,000.

Mr Elias is in the Philippines, according to a police witness, and declined to provide a statement for the trial.

The confronting CCTV footage was shown hours after Barbaro’s execution this morning outside Mr Alex’s Earlwood home.

     CCTV OF JOE ANTOUN SHOT AT HIS STRATHFIELD HOME

   Police investigation
   

 NSW Police believe it could be linked to the killing of Mr Barbaro.
 “That vehicle has been towed for forensic examination,” Superintendent David Johnson told reporters.

Supt Johson said the victim, who had been visiting someone in the street, had been “shot a number of times”.

Police are now appealing for witnesses to come forward so homicide investigators can piece together a chain of events that includes the Audi. Supt Johnson acknowledges some of the victim’s associates might not be keen to contact police.

“Given the sort of nefarious activities these people are engaged in, clearly it is in their best interests to come forward and speak to police,” he added. “These people [the shooters] are dangerous people.”

‘Targeted attack’

Early investigations suggest it was a targeted attack and Larkhall Street was cordoned off today as forensic teams examined the area.

Barbaro’s grandfather and cousin were both killed in gangland hits and there had been unconfirmed rumours Pasquale Barbaro was an informant for the NSW Crime Commission.

     

      Pasquale Barbaro’s grandfather Peter Pasquale Barbaro and his cousin Pat Barbaro

Gabriela Pintos lives at the end of street and said she heard gunshots late at night.

“We heard the gunshots … another maybe four gunshots and a couple of minutes later there was someone screaming,” she told AAP.

Another resident told AAP he heard as a many as seven really loud bangs in two bursts and saw a car speed away.

“You knew straight away what it was … I looked out the front and saw a car speed off,” the man, who wanted to be identified as John, said. Witnesses also reported seeing a car with three or four men wearing hoodies parked nearby ahead of the shooting.

He ‘may have broken the mafia code’

Barbaro may have been gunned down in Sydney because he was talking to the authorities, according to a journalist who’s written a book on the Barbaro family.

Journalist Keith Moor says the latest Pasquale Barbaro to die might have been killed for the same reason his grandfather was – he may have been “telling tales outside of school and breaking the code”.

“There could be other motives but that is a line of inquiry the homicide squad in Sydney will be pursuing,” the author of Busted told ABC TV.

Moor believes Monday night’s shooting could be difficult to solve because traditionally the Calabrian mafia are reluctant to talk to authorities. “I’m presuming that none of the Barbaro family will be willing to help police,” he said.

“They’ll probably do their own investigation into what happened.” The journalist said the problem for police trying to crack down on the Barbaros was that, as soon as one was knocked down, another seemed to pop up. “That’s been going on for generations,” he said.

Asaad shooting

The death comes two weeks after another crime figure, Hamad Assaad, was shot dead outside his Georges Hall home.

Mr Assaad was a key suspect in the execution of standover man Walid Ahmad at a Bankstown shopping centre in April.
     

   Infamous underworld figure Jason Moran and Past Barbaro were gunned down in Essendon in 2003.

      That killing was thought to be in retaliation for the shooting homicide of Safwan Charbaji outside a nearby panel beater two weeks earlier.
     Pasquale Barbaro’s grandfather Peter Pasquale Barbaro was gunned down in Brisbane in 1990 while his cousin Pat Barbaro
     was shot dead in a
 car park in Melbourne in 2003.


   

The Pasquale Barbaro sentenced in 2012 jail over the world’s biggest ecstasy bust.

Another cousin, also called Pasquale, was involved in what was described as the world’s biggest ecstasy bust.

Some 15 million pills were hidden inside tinned tomatoes and shipped by the Calabrian mafia from Italy to Melbourne.

– With AAP


– With AAP

MELBOURNE gangland lawyer Joseph Acquaro executed -$200,000 bounty revealed

Posted on March 15, 2016 by Robbo

 17th March 2016

Tony Madafferi behind $200,000 bounty on Melbourne lawyer Joseph Acquaro, police told court

By the National Reporting Team’s Dan Oakes

     

Lawyer Joseph Acquaro was found shot dead on Tuesday morning. (ABC News)

Related Story: Gangland taskforce to help probe shooting of Melbourne lawyer

Related Story: Slain gangland lawyer warned of ‘$200k contract’ on his life

Map: Brunswick East 3057

A businessman with alleged mafia links, Antonio ‘Tony’ Madafferi, was suspected by police of putting a $200,000 bounty on the head of Joseph Acquaro after he formed the apparent belief the slain lawyer was leaking information about him to a journalist, the ABC have confirmed.

Key points:

  • Police told Tony Madafferi they believed he put contract on lawyer’s life
  • Mr Madafferi denies any knowledge of the contract
  • Former client with organised crime links believed Mr Acquaro had not adequately represented him

Mr Acquaro, also known as ‘Pino’, was gunned down in what detectives believe was a targeted attack near his business in Brunswick East in the early hours of Tuesday.

The 54-year-old had previously represented a number of prominent Italian-Australian crime figures, and had strong links to the Calabrian community.

Supreme Court Judge John Dixon has lifted an order suppressing reporting about Mr Madafferi, Mr Acquaro and the alleged contract, which was originally disclosed in affidavits filed for a defamation case Mr Madafferi launched against journalist Nick McKenzie and Fairfax.

The affidavits said detectives visited Mr Madafferi at his Noble Park fruit shop and told him they believed he was soliciting a hit on Mr Acquaro, warning him if anything happened to the lawyer, Mr Madafferi would be top of their list of suspects.

Mr Madafferi vehemently denied the allegation.

The ABC does not suggest Mr Madafferi is involved with Mr Acquaro’s death.

Police also warned Mr Acquaro of the alleged contract, and advised him to beef up his personal security, which he apparently declined to do.

Do you know more about this story? Email investigations@abc.net.au

Accusations against Madafferi ‘fanciful’: lawyer

Mr Acquaro represented Mr Madafferi’s brother, Frank, an alleged mafia heavyweight who was jailed with a number of other men linked to the Calabrian mafia in 2014 over the world’s largest ecstasy bust.

He also represented at least one of Frank Madafferi’s co-accused in that case.

      

   Tony Madafferi outside court in September last year. (ABC News: Sam Clark)

It is believed Mr Acquaro fell out with the Madafferi brothers over business dealings, and over the belief Mr Acquaro’s adult sons were becoming close to the Madafferi brothers, which their father did not want.

Soon afterwards, Fairfax reporter McKenzie wrote a number of articles about the Madafferi brothers, their alleged organised crime links and their ties to Liberal politicians.

Tony Madafferi formed the view Mr Acquaro was providing information to McKenzie, and as part of a still-running defamation suit against Fairfax, tried unsuccessfully to force McKenzie to reveal his sources.

McKenzie said in an affidavit he had been warned by police Tony Madafferi was trying to place him under surveillance, and that he was deeply fearful of what could happen to his sources if their names were revealed.

In reply, Tony Madafferi’s lawyer, Georgina Schoff, said it was “absolutely fanciful” somebody would try to “knock off” one of McKenzie’s sources.

Acquaro’s former client ‘furious’ over trial result

In a separate potential lead for police, Mr Acquaro had made an enemy of a former client with organised crime links who believed Mr Acquaro had not adequately represented him at a major criminal trial.

The ABC understands the man, who has strong ties to the Calabrian mafia in Australia, is canvassing legal avenues to appeal against his heavy sentence, but is believed to have been furious with Mr Acquaro over the result of his trial.

The falling out between Mr Acquaro and his client illustrates the difficulty for police in finding the killer of a man who had apparently made many enemies.

Victoria Police announced earlier on Thursday that Purana Taskforce, which was originally set up to investigate Melbourne’s notorious gangland killings, would join the homicide squad in investigating the death of Mr Acquaro.

 Gangland Lawyer dead

Joe Acquaro found dead on footpath in Brunswick East

March 15, 2016 12:19pm

    

    Mark Buttler, Anthony Dowsley and Anthony Galloway 

A garbage truck driver found the body of Joe Acquaro on a footpath in St Phillip St, about 100m from Gelobar, at 3am.

Court documents revealed there was a $200,000 murder contract put out on Mr Acquaro, 55, last year.

      

     Police at the crime scene in St Phillip St. Picture: Nicole Garmston 

    
    

   Emergency crews outside Joe Acquaro’s cafe, Gelobar, in Lygon St this morning
    
   
  Young Lawyer Joseph Acquaro outside court in 1995 

   
   Mr Acquaro was a former lawyer of Francesco Madafferi.


Madafferi is in jail after being convicted of large-scale drug trafficking for his connection to the importation of 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy tablets hidden in tomato tins in 2007.

 

Mr Acquaro had more recently been representing accused underworld figure Rocco Arico.

He appeared for Arico in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court last week where he was answering extortion and assault charges.

   

   Francesco Madafferi. 

   
   

   Rocco Arico

   Detective Inspector Michael Hughes said Mr Acquaro had closed Gelobar on Lygon St about 12.40am and was walking to his car when he was attacked.

   “We have an early report that a witness has heard a car travelling down that street (St Phillip Street) away from Lygon St at reasonably high speed,” he said.

   “So if anyone has seen cars in the area prior to the shooting, or just after the shooting please contact Crime Stoppers.”

   He would not say how many gunshot wounds Mr Acquaro suffered or what type of gun was suspected in the murder.

   “It’s always a concern when someone meets their death like this in a public place,” Det-Insp Hughes said.



     

  The garbage truck diver who found the body speaks to the detectives

  

   

Gelobar workers and associates at the scene. Picture: Nicole GarmstonSource:News Corp Australia

Det-Insp Hughes said police were investigating whether Mr Acquaro’s death was linked to a fire at Gelobar in January.

“That appears to be a minor dispute, so we don’t necessarily believe it is connected but we will certainly look at that possibility,” he said.

“There’s a number of possibilities we will obviously look at.

“He (Mr Acquaro) is certainly known to police but he is certainly not a convicted person. He is known to police through other associations.”

Homicide squad detectives remain at the scene.

  
 

Gelobar workers and associates speak to detectives.

Nearby business owner Giovanni Di-Micco described Mr Acquaro, who also served as head of Melbourne’s Reggio Calabria Club, as a “top bloke” and a “very good man”.

“I was upset (when I heard), I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

“I’m renting out a shop just here, I’ve known him for four or five months.

“He was a very good man, he always had time for everybody and that’s just the kind of guy he was.”

Business owner and friend George Mirabella, who had known Mr Acquaro for most of his life, said he had no idea why he was killed.

“I’m upset. My staff are crying in my office,” he said.

“I’ve known him on a personal scale, we’re friends from many many years ago. His mother and his father – beautiful people.

“He was just a down-to-earth guy like all of us. It’s an impossibility that such a thing can happen.”

If you have any information about the shooting contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

mark.buttler@news.com.au


 

abc.net.au

Melbourne gangland lawyer shot dead in ‘targeted attack’

Updated 33 minutes agoTue 15 Mar 2016, 1:20pm

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

Video: Melbourne businessman shot dead in ‘targeted’ attack (ABC News)

Melbourne businessman and gangland criminal lawyer Joseph ‘Pino’ Acquaro has been shot dead in a targeted attack in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick East, Victoria Police homicide squad detectives say.

  • Acquaro’s body was found at 3:00am on St Phillip Street by a garbage truck driver
  • A car was heard driving at speed away from scene
  • Acquaro represented a number of Melbourne gangland figures

Mr Acquaro, 54, was found at 3:00am by a garbage truck driver, on St Phillip Street, just a few hundred metres from a popular cafe strip in the inner-city Melbourne suburb.

He was a prominent criminal lawyer who has represented several Melbourne gangland crime figures.

He was also a past president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce and was involved in the Brunswick Reggio Calabria Club.

Mr Acquaro was a director of the popular ice-cream and Italian cake shop, Gelobar, around the corner from where his body was found.

Detective Inspector Mick Hughes said Mr Acquaro was shot while walking to his car after shutting his business about 12:40am.

“A witness has heard a car travelling down that street away from Lygon [Street] at a reasonably high speed,” he said.

“If anyone has seen cars in the area prior to the shooting [and] just after the shooting, please contact Crime Stoppers.

Detective Inspector Hughes believed it was a targeted attack.

“It’s always a concern when someone meets their death in a public place,” he said.

“From a safety perspective, it does appear to be targeted and as our investigation unfolds today, and over the next few days we’ll probably know more about that.

“But certainly at this stage it certainly looks as if it’s a targeted attack.

“The other possibility we’ll certainly look at is robbery.”

Detective Inspector Hughes said Mr Acquaro was known to police “through other associations”, not because he had been convicted of any crime.

Gelobar was damaged by a suspicious fire two months ago.

“There was a previous incident here that police were aware of,” Detective Inspector Hughes said.

“From what I’ve been told, it appears that was a very minor incident that wouldn’t result in something as tragic as this.”

A woman who is understood to run the shop arrived at the scene and was visibly distressed.

SES workers conducted a line search in the area where the body was found.

Mafia lawyer and gelati bar owner Joseph ‘Pino’ Acquaro gunned down on Brunswick East street

March 15, 2016 – 11:59AM

A Melbourne cafe owner’s body is found in a Burnswick East laneway, in what is believed to be a professional hit. (Vision courtesy Seven news Melbourne)

A Melbourne criminal lawyer allegedly wanted dead by the mafia has been gunned down in Melbourne’s inner north in what is believed to be a professional hit.

The murdered man, Pino “Joseph” Acquaro, had been warned by police that his life was in danger and told that he should take measures to protect his safety. Mr Acquaro refused.

The 54-year-old criminal lawyer, who represented several prominent Melbourne gangland and Calabrian crime figures, was gunned down while walking to his black Mercedes parked in St Phillip Street, Brunswick East.

    
    Forensics officers examine the man’s body on St Phillip Street

It appears he had just locked up for the night at his gelateria and cafe Gelobar in Lygon Street when he was shot by a single gunman just after 12.40am.

Witnesses heard shots and the sound of a car travelling along St Phillip Street away from Lygon Street – the wrong way up a one-way street.

A rubbish truck driver found Mr Acquaro’s body at 3am and phoned emergency services. He was already dead when paramedics arrived.

    
   Police and SES volunteers at the scene

Homicide Squad detectives and forensic police have been on the scene all Tuesday morning. Police found a mobile phone under a car in St Phillip Street not far from the body just after 11am.

Detective Inspector Mick Hughes confirmed the victim, who he would not name, had died from gunshot wounds.

He would not comment on how many times Mr Acquaro was shot, nor what type of weapon was used.

Gelobar was severely damaged in a suspicious fire in January.

Detective Inspector Hughes said that fire was over a “minor dispute” and though there was no clear link to the murder, it would be investigated.

He would also not rule-out that robbery was a motive.

   
   Police block St Phillip Street in Brunsick East after a man’s body was discovered

Mr Acquaro, a father of three adult sons, had severed ties with many of his former Calabrian mafia clients after a falling out.

He was the past president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce and, given his Calabrian heritage, was a passionate advocate of his culture and business in Melbourne.

He was strongly involved with Brunswick’s Reggio Calabria club.

He was known in the Calabrian community as a lawyer and businessman who would help disadvantaged community members with their affairs, continuing a tradition started by his father, a Melbourne accountant.

But Mr Acquaro also facilitated the business affairs of notorious Calabrian community members, reputed to be in the ‘Ndrangheta or Honoured Society.

Detective Inspector Hughes said the dead man was known to police but had no convictions.

George Mirabella, owner of Mirabella Lighting nearby, said he had known Mr Acquaro his whole life, from attending Italian social functions together in Melbourne as children.

He said he was a generous, well-loved member of society who was a “total gentleman”.

“He was so down-to-earth, everyone loved him, I’ve got my whole staff in tears,” Mr Mirabella said.

The last time he saw Mr Acquaro was when he came into his store and bought two globes.

“And he bought in some cannoli. That’s the type of gentleman he was. I can’t believe it.”

Mr Acquaro started operating Gelobar about five years ago, when Salvatore Scullino, who owned the business with his wife Rita, died.

Ms Scullino had been inconsolable outside the business on Tuesday morning, and did not speak to the media.

 Her employees gathered on the corner opposite Gelobar, stunned by the death of their boss, as other mourners arrived in shock.

Several stacks of chairs and three tables remained on the footpath outside the gelataria on Tuesday morning, as though the cafe was not completely packed up before closing.

The street was reopened about 12.50pm.

Police are now assessing CCTV footage from a camera mounted outside Gelobar, which points directly at the intersection of Lygon and St Phillip Street, but not as far as where the shooting is likely to have occurred.

The camera view of the intersection appears to be partially obscured by two outdoor umbrellas, but detectives are hopeful it will show the car used by the hit man.

A witness said they heard a car driving the wrong way up St Phillip Street about 12.40am, but did not see the car.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

– With Marissa Calligeros

Posted in Australian Crimes, Crimes, Murders | Tagged aussiecriminals, Australian Crimes, Calabrian,Calabrian mafia, Crimes, Criminals, Detective Inspector Michael Hughes, Francesco Madafferi,Gangland, Gelobar, Joe Acquaro, mafia, Murder, murder contract, Murders, Tony Madafferi, Victoria Police 



Watch part two of a joint Fairfax and ABC Four Corners mafia investigation on ABC1 8.30 PM Monday.

Posted in Australian Crimes, Corruption, Crimes, Drugs | Tagged aussiecriminals, Australia, Australian Crimes, Barbaro, Calabrian mafia, Corruption, Crimes, Criminals, criminals, Drugs, Frank Madafferi,Giuseppe "Bebbe" Manariti, Labor Roads and Ports minister Luke Donnellan, Luke Donnellan, mafia,Michael Teti, Ndrangheta, Oz Mafia, Paul Alvaro, political fundraisers, Romeo, Sergi, thugs, Tony Madafferi, Trimboli, Victoria Police, Victorian ALP delegate Michael Teti | 1 Reply

Judge bribes, military arms sought: the Mafia’s alleged Australian operations

Posted on July 7, 2015 by Robbo

Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard

  • Terror diverts focus as Mafia ‘board of directors thrives’
  • The Mafia, metadata and me
  • Ex-mayor runs Mafia cell, answers to Italy

An Australian Mafia boss allegedly paid $2.2 million in bribes to  judges to get lighter jail sentences, and the Mafia have approached defence force personnel to supply them with military grade weapons, top-secret police intelligence reports reveal.

The reports also reveal the price of some food – including the price of certain types of seafood in Sydney – may be more expensive due to Mafia control of the supply chain across Australia.

Fairfax Media can also reveal that Jupiter’s Casino on the Gold Coast has become a key gambling site for Mafia figures banned over money laundering concerns from Crown Casino in Melbourne and Star City in Sydney.

Two top crime figures, including a Mafia godfather, banned from the Sydney and Melbourne casinos recently gambled large amounts at Jupiter’s, effectively rendering anti-money laundering efforts useless.

A search this month of the business holdings of all the key Mafia bosses in NSW, Victoria and South Australia also reveals their continuing control over multimillion-dollar wholesale, construction and farming businesses, including a major winery and several large fruit orchards.

A joint Fairfax Media and ABC Four Corners probe has obtained a series of confidential Australian police reports written and circulated to state agencies between 2003 and 2014.

The reports provide startling revelations about the depth of Calabrian Mafia’s infiltration into Australian life and the ambitions of the criminal group.

They reveal the group known as ‘Ndrangheta, or the Honoured Society, continues to control both legitimate and illegitimate businesses, with money earned both from the drug trade and from stand-over and extortion within pockets of Australia’s fresh food trade, trucking and construction industries.

A 2013 file, circulated among agencies, warns that the Mafia poses as “extreme” organised crime risk to the nation.

It echoes similar warnings made in a 2003 Australian Crime Commission assessment that revealed the Mafia had “infiltrated members into, or recruited people from, public organisations, government and law enforcement agencies with the lure of money”.

“[Mafia] family associates are employed in many areas of government enterprise, as well as in the telecommunications industry; bookmaking/racing; car dealerships/car repairs and hydroponic shops,” the 2003 report states.

In Victoria, Mick Gatto is named as a crime figure who works closely with the Calabrian Mafia while running his own crime syndicate.  

“Mick Gatto has shown a high awareness of law enforcement methodology and has taken a proactive approach in accessing corrupt law enforcement personnel and information to protect his ventures,” one report says.

In NSW, another Italian crime boss “is involved in a number of legitimate businesses … including car dealerships and night clubs, and is associated with at least one ex-AFP member and one corrective services person”.

NSW police intelligence also describes how detectives had discovered how “Italian Organised Crime members have actively approached members of the Australian Defence Forces for the purpose of acquiring firearms and ammunition”.

The NSW police also gathered information in 2003 that Mafia figures in Griffith, NSW – the group’s traditional stronghold – had been “receiving information from a person connected to the police in Griffith and the court”.

“It is alleged that a Sydney based IOC [Italian Organised Crime] member received light sentences in the past because he paid off [Sydney] judges, costing approximately $2.2 million.

“The protection provided to IOC members by other members comes in many forms, ranging from the simple criminal code of silence or perjury, to more sinister acts involving corrupt influence [and] abusing a position of responsibility.

“IOC groups in NSW have infiltrated members into, or recruited people from, public organisations, government and law enforcement agencies with the lure of money.”

Fairfax Media has recently spoken to senior law enforcement sources who identified a judge allegedly involved, saying he has since left the bench.

The NSW police have also discovered “information [that] suggests a monopoly exists … at the Sydney Fish Markets where private arrangements need to be made for their purchase”. The report says these arrangements allegedly involve cartel behaviour, including price fixing and threats of violence.

Police have warned that Mafia identities maintain control over the food supply chain via their ownership of farms, wholesale businesses and transport and freight firms.

Reception centres owned by Mafia bosses in Adelaide and Melbourne have been hired by unwitting police and politicians to hold functions.

An intelligence brief circulated to police across Australia in 2011 states: “The Calabrian Mafia … readily uses fruit trucks to transport cannabis to the Melbourne Fruit and Vegetable Market [from Griffith, NSW and other regional sites] to be further distributed. The trucks usually have the cannabis hidden among containers of fruit and vegetables.”

In 2003, NSW police confidentially warned that: “Investigations developed intelligence of IOC figures involved in both the Sydney fruit markets at Flemington and fish markets, as well as the Belconnen markets in Canberra”.

“[Wholesale food] markets continue to provide controlled linkages to the interstate trucking and transport industry. Again, elements of the transport infrastructure are controlled by families with connections to IOC elements. There is continuing intelligence of the exploitation of this type of freight for trafficking illicit commodities.

“The exploitation of the markets and interstate freight remains a significant area for environmental hardening and law reform.”

The revelation that Mafia figures banned from NSW and Victorian casinos over money laundering concerns are simply heading to the Gold Coast casino suggests another major weakness in anti-organised crime measures.

Police have previously warned that Mafia
“identities were using casinos to launder funds through, with significant money movements through Jupiter’s Casino and Crown Casino Melbourne”.


Posted in Australian Crimes, Corruption, Crimes, Drugs, High Profile Criminals, Murders | Taggedaussiecriminals, Australia, Australian Crimes, Calabrian mafia, Corruption, Crimes, Criminals,criminals, Drugs, Fairfax Media, Frank Madafferi, High Profile Criminals, Labor Roads and Ports minister Luke Donnellan, Luke Donnellan, mafia, Michael Teti, Money laundering, Murders, Ndrangheta,Oz Mafia, political fundraisers, thugs, Tony Madafferi, Victoria Police, Victorian ALP delegate Michael Teti | 1 Reply



World’s biggest ecstasy bust: How a Google search foiled Aussie tomato tin mafia’s drug plots

Posted on February 15, 2015 by Robbo

Along read but a good read, and a long time coming

February 14, 2015 9:18AM

     

IT’S difficult to imagine that of all the hugely populated cities around the globe, it is little old Melbourne which holds the title of the site of the world’s biggest ecstasy bust.

Yet it has held that distinction twice, with the first world’s biggest ecstasy bust of 1.2 tonnes being made here in 2005. That record was eclipsed when Australian Federal Police agents seized 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy pills in Melbourne in 2007.

     

One of the tins used in $440 million ecstasy haul. Picture: Brendan FrancisSource: News Corp Australia

There are two main reasons such massive amounts of ecstasy were shipped to Melbourne. The first is Australia has very strong Calabrian mafia cells in Melbourne and elsewhere and the Italian organised crime gang is one of the world’s biggest traffickers of ecstasy.

Secondly, Australians are wealthy enough to pay the world’s highest prices for ecstasy tablets — making it an attractive place to smuggle to.

Court suppression orders lifted yesterday enable the Herald Sun to reveal the inside story of the world’s biggest ecstasy bust, which involved 15 million pills hidden inside tomato tins which were shipped by the Calabrian mafia from Italy to the Melbourne docks.

This is the inside story of the world’s biggest ecstasy bust and how those responsible for importing 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy into Melbourne from Italy were brought to justice.

A POLICE sting foiled Mokbel mate Rob Karam’s plan to buy 26 tonnes of chemicals to make ice with a street value of $13 billion.

Karam — one of Crown casino’s top 200 gamblers — was secretly recorded as he arranged to ship the chemicals to Australia and Mexico.

What Karam didn’t know was the man in Hong Kong he was negotiating the massive deal with was an undercover officer working with Australian Federal Police.

  

Rob Karam (left) and accomplice Fadl Maroun meet Hong Kong policeundercover operative #51251 Michael (right) at the Harbour Plaza Hotel, Hong Kong. Picture: Australian Federal Police surveillance image. Source: Supplied

For the first time, the Herald Sun can also reveal details today of other mind-blowingly large drug deals and the Australian Mr Bigs who are behind bars because of them.

It can do so following the lifting yesterday of multiple Supreme and County Court suppression orders.

That enables the Herald Sun to tell the full inside story on the world’s biggest ecstasy bust, which involved the AFP seizing 15 million pills hidden in tomato tins shipped from Italy to Melbourne by the Calabrian mafia.
        

     A customs agent unpacks canned tomato tins holding tonnes of ecstasy tablets.
    Picture:
 Australian Customs Service. Source: News Limited

     Those details include:

  • MORE than 30 gang members have been convicted and jailed by Victorian courts for a total of almost 300 years following the 2007 seizure of the 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy – which had a street value of $440 million.
  • SENIOR gang members were secretly taped plotting to murder the man they blamed for the 4.4 tonne shipment of ecstasy being seized — that man is a mate of underworld identity Mick Gatto.
  • BLACK Uhlans bikie gang founder John Higgs was secretly recorded saying he wanted to wrap Gatto’s mate in carpet and “throw him in the river” as punishment for the ecstasy shipment being grabbed by police.     Ecstasy importer Pasquale Barbaro, pictured under police surveillance with drug syndicate henchman, 


  •    Jan Visser,  in Melbourne comes from a Calabrian Italian family one of just 31 in Australia who control drug trade

    When Barbaro put Varallo on to talk, Madafferi claimed the right to set the price of ecstasy in his home city, although acknowledging that the other states were under Barbaro's control.

    '[I'm] responsible fo Melbourne... Melbourne is mine,' he yelled at Varallao, warning him not to 'break my f***ing balls on my f***ing turf'.

    In the ensuing days, Madafferi did not let up telling Barbaro: 'I'm going to pull his f***ing head off ... I'm going to eat him alive. Tell him that he can go get his f***ing coffin, get it f***ing ready.'

    A terrified Varallo told Barbaro that Madafferi was 'going off his rocker... off his tree' and had threatened to slit Varallo's throat or shoot him. 

    Barbaro told Madafferi he had authorised Varallo to sell the ecstasy an $8.50 a pill and an uneasy truce was called.

  •     Ecstasy importer Pasquale Barbaro, pictured under police surveillance with drug syndicate henchman, 
       Jan Visser,  in Melbourne comes from a Calabrian Italian family one of just 31 in Australia who control drug trades

    Ecstasy importer Pasquale Barbaro, pictured under police surveillance with drug syndicate henchman, Jan Visser, in Melbourne comes from a Calabrian Italian family one of just 31 in Australia who control drug trades

    When Barbaro put Varallo on to talk, Madafferi claimed the right to set the price of ecstasy in his home city, although acknowledging that the other states were under Barbaro's control.

    '[I'm] responsible fo Melbourne... Melbourne is mine,' he yelled at Varallao, warning him not to 'break my f***ing balls on my f***ing turf'.

    In the ensuing days, Madafferi did not let up telling Barbaro: 'I'm going to pull his f***ing head off ... I'm going to eat him alive. Tell him that he can go get his f***ing coffin, get it f***ing ready.'

    A terrified Varallo told Barbaro that Madafferi was 'going off his rocker... off his tree' and had threatened to slit Varallo's throat or shoot him. 

    Barbaro told Madafferi he had authorised Varallo to sell the ecstasy an $8.50 a pill and an uneasy truce was called.

  • Ecstasy importer Pasquale Barbaro, pictured under police surveillance with drug syndicate henchman, Jan Visser, in Melbourne comes from a Calabrian Italian family one of just 31 in Australia who control drug trades

                    John Higgs

             John Higgs. Picture: Australian Federal Police Source: Supplied

                     
                     


Frank Madafferi. Picture: Australian Federal Police Source: Supplied

THE drug operation was nearly blown before enough evidence was gathered to charge all those involved as AFP surveillance officers came within seconds of having to reveal themselves to physically stop gang members from murdering a second man they had fallen out with.

THAT intended victim didn’t come out into the Reggio Calabria Club car park in Parkville, where the gang members were waiting, so the execution attempt was aborted without the surveillance officers having to expose themselves.

MELBOURNE-based Calabrian Mafioso Frank Madafferi was a major drug dealer within months of former Federal Minister Amanda Vanstone overturning a decision to deport him.

AFP agents secretly taped Madafferi making death threats after he won his nine-year legal battle to stay in Australia and angrily claiming he was going to chop fellow drug dealer Pino Varallo “into little pieces”.

MADAFFERI was selling drugs provided to him by the Calabrian mafia gang charged by the AFP in 2008 over the world’s biggest ecstasy bust.

PASQUALE Barbaro, the Griffith-based boss of the Calabrian mafia gang behind the 4.4 tonne ecstasy importation, is the son of Francesco “Little Trees” Barbaro, one of the men named in the Woodward royal commission report as being an influential member of the Griffith mafia cell which murdered anti-drug campaigner Donald Mackay in 1977.

BARBARO was secretly bugged by the AFP telling fellow drug dealer Gratian Bran he had just warned Karam he was going to kill him if he didn’t pay what he owed for drugs supplied to him.

CONSPIRACY to murder charges against Barbaro and Madafferi have been dropped.

ONE of Australia’s most wanted men — Graham Potter — will still face trial over his alleged botched attempts to execute two of Barbaro’s enemies for Barbaro, and face trial over his alleged drug trafficking for Barbaro gang members.

      

    Calabrian mafia boss Pasquale Barbaro pictured after his arerest for running a syndicate which imported millions of ecstasy tablets

........................................

Pasquale Barbaro. Picture: Australian Federal Police Source: Supplied

John Higgs
 Carmelo Falanga 


Pasquale Barbaro's Calabrian mafia drug syndicate associates John Higgs following his arrest in 2008 after federal police blew apart their ecstasy importation ring

Carmelo Falanga  following his arrest in 2008 after federal police blew apart their ecstasy importation ring

Carmelo Falanga. Picture: Australian Federal Police Source: Supplied



The massive drugs shipment had a street value of $440 million. Picture: Australian Federal Police Source: Supplied

SENIOR Barbaro drug gang member and South Australian Italian organised crime boss Carmelo Falanga fired four shots at police as they raided his meth lab and was found to be in possession of a fully automatic submachine gun and a .357 revolver.

A JOINT police and spy agency taskforce set up by the Australian Crime Commission helped police in Europe arrest 27 members of the Belgian syndicate believed to have made and sold the 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy to the Italy-based Calabrian mafia cell which shipped the pills from Naples to Barbaro’s gang in Melbourne.

    

     The huge haul of ecstasy following the seizure. Picture: Australian Federal PoliceSource: Supplied

    KARAM — who was convicted drug boss Tony Mokbel’s shipping industry inside man — was on bail and on trial over the previous world record seizure in
   Melbourne of 1.2 tonnes of ecstasy in 2005 at the time he was helping organise the 4.4 tonne importation in 2007.

   ORGANISED crime gangs in Mexico were lined up by Karam to receive 20 tonnes of chemicals from China to turn into ice for probable sale in Australia.

  KARAM ordered a further six tonnes of ice-making chemicals to be shipped directly to Melbourne.

   Calabria, in the toe of southern Italy, is the world headquarters of the Italian organised crime gang ‘Ndrangheta.

   It is simply called the mafia by most in Australia, or the Calabrian mafia to differentiate it from the Sicilian mafia.

  Details of Karam’s sentencing and involvement in the Calabrian mafia’s 4.4 tonne ecstasy importation in 2007, a 150kg shipment of cocaine in 2008 and
   his plan to import tonnes of drug making chemicals     into Australia were suppressed until yesterday.

          

       Rob Karam 

   

   Tony Mokbel 

 

 Bob Karam, 48, of Derby St, Kew, was jailed for 19 years and ordered to serve a minimum of 15 over his major role in the 4.4 tonne ecstasy importation.

  Bob Karum is awaiting sentencing over other drug charges he was convicted of in November last year.

  Bob Karam’s final trial over the planned ice importation was discontinued last month to save the cost of another trial.

   A guilty verdict in that trial would probably not have resulted in his sentence being increased by much.

  The 19-year jail term ends his charmed life of beating drug charges.

Karam was arrested with Mokbel in 2001 and charged over the importation of 550kg of ephedrine, which could make amphetamines worth $2 billion.

He was also charged in 2001 over a three tonne hashish shipment worth $147 million, which Victoria Police believe was organised and financed by Mokbel in partnership with murdered underworld heavyweights Lewis Moran and Graham “The Munster” Kinniburgh.

The trafficking and possession charges against Lebanese-born Karam over the ephedrine seizure were dropped in 2005 and he was found not guilty over the three tonne hash haul.

      

   Graham Kinniburgh 

      

   Lewis Moran

   Karam was also cleared of conspiring with others to import five million ecstasy tablets into Melbourne in 2005.

   The Herald Sun became aware through Italian police contacts in early 2007 that the Calabrian mafia was involved in shipping huge amounts of ecstasy to Melbourne.

   It agreed to an AFP request not to reveal the Calabrian mafia connection to either the first 1.2 tonne shipment or the second 4.4 tonne one.

    The AFP feared publicising the Calabrian connection would tip off the Italians that they were under investigation as the prime suspects.

   Now that all the court cases are over and the suppression orders have been lifted theHerald Sun is able to reveal details of

      the two world’s biggest ecstasy busts for the first time without jeopardising any investigations.

   

     The 2005 ectasy bust was worth an estimated $250 million.

    The drugs were found hidden in a shipment of ceramic tiles from Italy aboard the cargo ship Matilda

     Evidence suggests the 1.2 tonne shipment was going to be distributed partly through Victoria’s fruit and vegetable industry, which has a strong Calabrian mafia presence.

      When the AFP swooped as the gang members were unloading the 1.2 tonne ecstasy shipment in 2005 they found the pills were

     being repacked into hundreds of the type of lettuce boxes used in Victorian markets.

   How a Google search brought the whole game unstuck

The 2007 world’s biggest ecstasy bust wouldn’t have been anywhere near as successful if a female freight forwarding manager in Melbourne had done what the crooks expected would happen after the container was unloaded.

It’s likely those arrested over the 4.4 tonne shipment would have been the lowly labourers sent by the Barbaro gang to pick up and unpack the pills.

But luck was with AFP that day in 2007.

The manager not doing as expected enabled the AFP to later charge 33 people and dismantle one of Australia’s biggest drug syndicates.

   

    The syndicate was relying on their little sleight of hand with a legitimate company’s phone number would go un-noticed. 

    In what was one of the largest AFP operation ever, gang members were watched by surveillance officers for 10,000 hours, 185,215 telephone conversations between gang members were secretly recorded and AFP agents and prosecutors put in 287,000 hours of work to crush the syndicate.

All that might not have happened had the freight forwarding manager in Melbourne done as the syndicate expected.

It was that manager’s job to ring a Melbourne company, which her paperwork said had imported a container load of tomato tins from Italy, to let them know it was ready for collection.

While the company was legitimate — and had no idea its name was being used by criminals to import 15 million ecstasy tablets — the phone number on the fake documents was linked to the drug syndicate.

     

The drugs were professionally packaged in Italy. Picture: Australian Federal Police Source: Supplied

Had the manager rung that number a gang member would have answered, pretended to be from the legitimate company and arranged for the container to be picked up without the company ever knowing its name had been used.

What neither the manager nor the crooks knew at that stage was that Customs had checked the container on arrival, discovered the ecstasy and alerted the AFP.

The AFP would have followed the container after it was picked up and would have swooped on whoever started unpacking it.

It’s more than likely those doing the unloading would be way down in the gang hierarchy.

If those criminal underlings didn’t dob in those above them — and people who inform on the Calabrian mafia often have very short lives — then the Mr Bigs responsible for organising the massive ecstasy shipment could easily have escaped detection.

   

 What AFP forensic officers discovered in thousands of tomato tins. Picture: Australian Federal Police Source: Supplied

So while the AFP was always going to get the 15 million pills and some arrests, it might never have got the drug bosses.

That one manager in the Melbourne freight forwarding company office changed the course of the investigation by doing something totally unexpected.

Instead of reading the paperwork to get the phone number of the company which had supposedly imported the tomatoes, she Googled its name and rang the number on her computer screen rather than the number on the fake paperwork.

   

The tomato tins looked the goods. Picture: Brendan Francis 

That meant she got through to the real company rather than the crooks.

Alarm bells started to ring when the company denied it had imported any tomatoes.

The manager needed to return the container and as the company she contacted said the tomatoes didn’t belong to it she arranged for the container to be unloaded so the empty container could be returned for re-use while she arranged storage for the tomatoes.

As the AFP was watching the container it had no choice but to move once it started being emptied by unsuspecting staff from the legitimate freight forwarding company.

As it turned the freight forwarding company manager did the AFP a favour by accidentally ringing the legitimate company.

   

 Once the authorities were on the trail, a massive surveillance operation swung into gear.

  Pasquale Barbaro and Jan Visser pictured on Queen St in Melbourne during the sting. Picture: Australian Federal Police Source: Supplied

Doing so meant the AFP ended up being able to arrest far more senior members of the gang than it would have had she rung the crooks.

It was efforts by the criminals to find out if the container had been seized — and subsequent drug deals to raise money to pay a $10 million debt owed to a European organised crime gang for the lost drugs — that led to them being careless and saying and doing things they normally wouldn’t have done, all under the watchful eyes and ears of the AFP.

Cops twig to a ‘drug shipment gone wrong’

Conversations secretly taped by police revealed the Barbaro gang remained hopeful of obtaining the 15 million pills for months after the container arrived in Melbourne on June 28, 2007, while suspecting, but not being sure, that the ecstasy had been seized.

Most of the evidence which led to the 33 people being charged was obtained in the months after the 15 million ecstasy pills were seized, with arrests not being made over the 4.4 tonne shipment until 13 months after the container arrived in Melbourne.

That evidence included the AFP capturing text messages in which Calabrian mafia boss Pasquale Barbaro attempted to persuade a Melbourne newspaper journalist to start asking the AFP questions about the ecstasy container to try to find out if it had been seized.

Barbaro, 53, of Whites Rd, Tharbogang, near Griffith, New South Wales, wanted the journalist to establish whether police had the drugs.

If they hadn’t seized them then he was going to send his minions to collect the container and unload it.

      

   The syndicate started to get nervous about the fate of the shipment, but it was already in the hands of the authorities.

   Picture: Australian Federal PoliceSource: Supplied

If the journalist was able to establish the container had been seized then Barbaro wanted him to write an article saying so as publicity about the seizure would convince the European drug gang which supplied the ecstasy that the Aussie crooks hadn’t ripped them off and stolen the drugs without paying for them.

Text messages between the journalist and Barbaro provided vital evidence linking Barbaro to the container in which the 15 million ecstasy tablets had been hidden.

The Supreme Court judge who jailed Barbaro for a minimum of 30 years in 2012 made reference to Barbaro’s attempted use of the journalist.

“You were understandably concerned that the seizure of the container had not been made public,” Justice Betty King told Barbaro.

“To ensure that your European suppliers understood that you were not trying to steal the ecstasy tablets, or as it is colloquially known, ‘rip them off’ — you attempted to try to have the seizure made public.”

Justice King told the court Barbaro contacted the journalist on a number of occasions asking if he was aware of the seizure “and giving details that could be known only to those who had a complete awareness of the container and its contents, including the size of the shipment”.

“You were attempting to ensure that those to whom you were responsible for this payment overseas were fully aware that the shipment had been seized by law enforcement authorities,” Justice King told Barbaro.

On September 19, 2007, several weeks after the 4.4 tonne ecstasy shipment was seized, Barbaro sent a text to the Melbourne journalist.

It said: “Mate, I have info on a drug shipment gone wrong, will u chase it up as I’m afraid to tell police of fear they might be involved. The container number is medu 1250218 and it came in on the ship monica 2 months ago and it is 15 million ecstasy tabs in tomato tins. Why isn’t it out, it’s the biggest in history.”

Although the journalist provided no help to Barbaro, the Mafioso heavy was able to use corrupt sources on Melbourne’s docks to eventually confirm the ecstasy was almost certainly in the hands of the AFP.

It then became Barbaro’s responsibility to send $10 million in cash to the European syndicate to cover the loss.

He and his fellow gang members needed to keep drug dealing to get that $10 million and the AFP watched and listened as they did.

While some arrests were always going to be made once the 4.4 tonnes was seized in 2007, the sequence of events could easily have followed the path of the previous world’s biggest ecstasy bust — which was also in Melbourne.

  

The drugs hidden in a shipment of tiles from Italy aboard the cargo ship Matilda.Source: News Corp Australia

That case involved the importation of five million ecstasy tablets hidden in a container of tiles which arrived on Melbourne docks from Italy in 2005.

The AFP did then what it did later in 2007 with the 4.4 tonne seizure, they took out the ecstasy tablets and replaced them with fake pills and watched to see who picked up the container and then followed the container to see who unpacked it.

While they charged six men over the 2005 bust they only got convictions against the lowly labourers who had been paid by the gang to unload the ecstasy.

Among those acquitted over the 2005 world’s biggest ecstasy bust was drug boss Tony Mokbel’s mate Rob Karam.

Karam wasn’t so lucky over the next world’s biggest ecstasy bust in 2007. He was one of the 32 people so far convicted in connection with the 4.4 tonne ecstasy shipment.

Bugged conversations suggest that some of the players convicted over the 4.4 tonne shipment were also involved in the earlier 1.2 tonne ecstasy shipment, including Pasquale Barbaro.

The major players got away with that one because AFP agents had to swoop as soon as the 1.2 tonne shipment started being unloaded so as to avoid the loss of physical evidence — but in doing so they were limited to arresting only the minor players involved in unpacking the container.

Those further up the criminal food chain — like Barbaro — traditionally stay several steps removed from the actual drugs so as to avoid detection.

      

  John Higgs, Rob Karam, Pasquale Barbaro and Saverio Zirilli. Picture: Australian Federal Police Source: Supplied

But after Barbaro lost the 4.4 tonne shipment in 2007 he and other senior gang members, in their desperation to earn the $10 million they needed to quickly pay their debt to the European organised crime syndicate, became much more hands on.

They talked more on telephones, had more face to face meetings and physically handled drugs — providing crucial evidence for the AFP as they did so.

Barbaro was caught on tape telling a fellow gang member he was doing things that he hadn’t done since he was learning the criminal ropes as a teenager.

The container containing the 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy arrived in Melbourne aboard the MV Monica on June 28, 2007, after having left Naples on May 25.

    

  The shipment was sent from Naples

It was addressed to a legitimate Melbourne food importing company, which had no idea the gang was using fake documents to make it look as though it had ordered the tomatoes.

Those fake documents included the phone number the freight forwarding company was supposed to ring once the container had cleared Customs.

That number was connected to the drug syndicate. The plan was that once the number was called the gang would arrange pick-up and delivery of the container.

  

The gang expected a simple pickup for massive profit. Source: News Corp Australia

The Melbourne-based food importer was chosen by the gang because it was a company which did import food from Europe, making it less likely a container addressed to it would be considered suspicious and subjected to a search by Customs in Melbourne.

Karam, using his knowledge as a former shipping freight forwarder, was probably responsible for choosing which company to use and arranging the false paperwork.

As mentioned earlier, the freight forwarding company in Melbourne didn’t ring the crooks so the crooks started to panic and make frantic attempts to try to find out what had happened to the container they knew had arrived.

    

 The drug syndicate picked a company that was less likely to set off alarm bells with Customs.
  Picture: Australian Federal Police
 Source: Supplied

While neither the AFP nor Customs were aware of a specific container of drugs, they had intelligence provided by a number of overseas agencies that a shipment of drugs was thought to have left Europe for Melbourne.

That led to Customs singling out a large number of containers to be searched.

They struck gold when they opened up container MEDU1250218 and cut the top off one of the sealed tomato tins to find it full of ecstasy tablets stamped with various logos, including a kangaroo.

The AFP was alerted and the mammoth job of opening up 607 boxes containing 3642 tins, removing the contents and repacking them with fake drugs began — with the intention of then watching the container and allowing it to be picked up and delivered so they could nab whoever did so.

   

 Some tins were weighed down with gravel to ensure the total shipment weighed the same as a legitimate one.
 Picture: Australian Federal Police
 Source: Supplied

The pills had been professionally packed, probably at a cannery in Italy. Some of the tins actually contained tomatoes, others were packed with gravel and 3034 of them were full of ecstasy pills. The tins of gravel were included so the total weight of the consignment would match what a genuine shipment of 3642 tins of tomatoes would weigh.

The total number of ecstasy tablets packed into the tomato tins was 15,193,798 and they weighed 4.423 tonnes.

AFP agents involved in the unpacking were stunned at the size of the bust — as was the then AFP Commissioner, Mick Keelty, when he got the phone call telling him his Melbourne agents had just made the world’s biggest ecstasy bust.
  

  Then Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty 

  

  Saverio Zirilli. Picture: Australian Federal Police Source: Supplied

They knew, just about for certain, that Karam would be involved, as would Barbaro.

Phone taps and physical surveillance of them led to others in the group being identified.

The AFP knew Barbaro and his cousin and right-hand man, Saverio Zirilli, had travelled from Griffith and booked into Melbourne’s Pacific International Suites in Little Bourke St, shortly before the ecstasy container was due to arrive.

Senior South Australian mafia figure Carmelo Falanga also travelled to Melbourne at the same time.

The three Mafioso had regular meeting with Karam and Higgs in coming days as they tried to find out if it was safe to pick up the 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy.

There were tense days in the Pacific International Suites as they waited for news.

AFP agents sensed the tension as they monitored every conversation in the room the crooks were sharing.

 

The crew waiting for news at the Pacific International. Picture: Australian Federal Police Source: Supplied

   

    Carmelo Falanga travelled to Melbourne for the expected shipment.
  Picture: Australian Federal Police
 Source: Supplied

Higgs’s lack of mobile phone knowledge resulted in some short-lived jubilation that the container had arrived, hadn’t been seized and was safe to collect.

On July 4, 2007, several days after the container was unloaded at the Melbourne docks, Higgs sent a cryptic, yet optimistic, early morning text to Barbaro and Falanga.

Barbaro was heard in the bugged hotel room to say Higgs’s message was the best news for “a f…ing long time”.

Higgs claimed that he needed to “come back to earth”; such was his level of excitement at receiving the text.

The cause for Higgs’s optimism was only fully revealed that afternoon.

Higgs joined Zirilli and Griffith-based Barbaro gang member Pasquale Sergi in room 609 at the Pacific International and told them he had received a text message overnight saying “delivery successful”.

Higgs wrongly concluded the sender was Karam, whose job it was to find out if the pills had arrived and whether or not they had been detected by Customs or police.

The message led to Higgs concluding the much awaited clearance enabling safe access to the container and its drugs had been confirmed by Karam and it was that “green light” message that Higgs had earlier conveyed to Barbaro.

As the AFP listened to Higgs telling Zirilli and Sergi (Barbaro was out at the time) about the text message they could tell Zirilli and Higgs were extremely buoyant, with Zirilli describing the news as “beautiful”, but Sergi initially remained silent.

Zirilli spoke about setting in train the next phase, getting two gang underlings to take a truck to pick up the ecstasy-filled container, possibly as early as the following morning.

The crew held out hope the massive haul was still theirs. Picture: Australian Federal Police Source: Supplied

An excited Higgs was heard talking about persons emptying the container and the gang finally getting their hands on the drugs.

At this point, Sergi, a man more versed in text messaging than Higgs, proffered his unpopular opinion regarding the source of the message Barbaro, Zirilli and Higgs were getting so positively worked up about.

He suggested the message had not been sent by Karam but that it was merely a service provider auto-generated message confirming the successful delivery of an earlier text sent by Higgs to Karam.

Sergi’s theory was initially discounted by Higgs and Zirilli.

It was ultimately accepted as being correct — but only after Higgs met Karam that night and established the “delivery successful” text was indeed from the phone provider and not Karam and it related to the successful delivery of a text message and not the successful delivery of 15 million ecstasy tablets.

That was one of the stuff-ups by syndicate members that prompted senior gang member Jan Visser to come up with one a one-liner that caused much laughter among the AFP agents who were secretly listening to his conversations.

“It’s hard to fly like an eagle when you’re surrounded by turkeys,” Visser was recorded saying.

The bugged conversations recorded in room 609 by the AFP provided valuable evidence as to who was connected to the 4.4 tonne ecstasy shipment.

Pasquale Barbaro, Saverio Zirilli, Severino Scarponi and Domenico Barbaro pictured in Carlton
after a visit to Brunetti’s cafe. Picture: Australian Federal Police
 Source: Supplied

Telling the mafia big boys the bad news

It wasn’t until July 14, 2007, that Barbaro decided to prepare to tell his Calabrian mafia bosses in Italy the bad news that it appeared the ecstasy had been seized.

He flew to Calabria on July 21, after being secretly recorded saying he needed “to lick their wounds”. While he was in Italy he spoke to Zirilli in calls intercepted by the AFP.

Barbaro told Zirilli he had been copping “the heat, right left and centre”.

In a later call to Zirilli, Barbaro said the suppliers of the ecstasy in Italy were all “starving here, and I’m to blame”.

Barbaro came back to Australia after a month with the news that if the 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy was lost then he and fellow drug importation financier Falanga each had to send $5 million to the European syndicate to compensate for the loss.

A flurry of drug activity by Barbaro and his gang in the following months to get money to pay that debt provided yet more evidence for the AFP, with two breakthroughs in particular providing a mountain of vital information.

What’s that again? An AFP detective monitoring telephone surveillance. Picture: Brendan Francis Source: News Corp Australia

The first was when Griffith-based Barbaro, 53, decided he was spending so much time in Melbourne that it made sense to rent a property.

The married father of four got his Melbourne mistress, Sharon Ropa, who was 37 when she was arrested in 2008, to rent a unit in Little Palmerston St, Carlton.

 ........................

Sharon Ropa, following her arrest. Picture: Australian Federal Police. Source: Supplied

 ........................................

Guns found buried in the garden of Barbaro’s Carlton flat. Picture: Australian Federal Police. Source: Supplied

It became Barbaro and Ropa’s love nest, as well as an office, a meeting place for fellow gang members and a source of evidence for the AFP.

The AFP secretly installed cameras and listening devices in the apartment and what they captured proved crucial to convicting those involved in the ecstasy importation, other drug dealing and money laundering offences.

So much cash was being brought into the apartment that Ropa bought a money counting machine, which the AFP got footage of her using.

One good piece of evidence was obtained when the AFP raided the property about 4am on August 8, 2008.

On the bedside table next to the bed Barbaro and a naked Ropa were sharing at the time was a piece of paper with the number of the container containing the 150kg of cocaine written on it.

Also seized by police from the love nest were more than 2500 ecstasy tablets, 30 mobile phones, $181,000 in cash and several notebooks outlining payments made for drugs. They also discovered guns buried in the back garden.

The second breakthrough was when AFP agents picked up from various bugged conversations that several of the leading players were planning to meet at the George Graham Park at Wunghnu, near Shepparton, on April 16, 2008.

Pasquale Barbaro, Rob Karam and Sharon Ropa thought they were safe to chat at a Shepparto

Pasquale Barbaro, Rob Karam and Sharon Ropa thought they were safe to chat at a Shepparton park, but AFP operatives were listening and watching. Picture: Australian Federal Police. Source: Supplied

Each of the gang members was very careful when talking and texting over the many mobile phones they used, making it difficult to use what they often said in code as evidence against them.

What the AFP was hoping was the gang members would feel much safer talking openly about their drug operations while sitting at a bench table in a remote park 204km north of Melbourne.

What the crooks didn’t know was the AFP quickly arranged to be able to listen to what was said in the park.

Conversations were captured between Barbaro, senior Barbaro gang member Gratian Bran and Mr X, who can’t be identified but who is a member of the European gang who was sent to Australia to ensure the Barbaro syndicate paid the $10 million it owed the Calabrian mafia in Italy for the loss of the ecstasy.

The AFP was able to record the following conversation about ecstasy tablets.

BARBARO: “But you told me six thousand.”

MR X: “Yeah, but that’s from the pure MDMA and this is already mixed so that it’s about a hundred, a hundred pills.”

BARBARO: “The ones I bought were already mixed with the binder and everything. I made then thousand out of one kilo”

MR X: “Yeah, from the pure MDMA”

BARBARO: “Fifteen kilos would be …”

BRAN: “That’s half a million dollars. I’ve got seven and a half kilos for $300,000.”

BARBARO: “The ones in Sydney, they were going and I told them I said sell them at, I said, for even $7.50 just to get rid of them. Just sell them just to get the ball over the line, that’s the first 250,000.”

AFP agents watched as Pasquale Barbaro left the table and walked through the park to his

AFP agents watched as Pasquale Barbaro left the table and walked through the park to his Mazda ute, opened the door, leant into the cabin, and returned to the table with something in his hand. Picture: Australian Federal Police. Source: Supplied

As the three drug dealers sat around a picnic table they talked openly about their criminal activity, much to the delight of the AFP agents secretly monitoring the bugged conversation.

Mr X talked about his recent discussions with the European syndicate which supplied the ecstasy. He said the Europeans were still concerned that money owed by the Barbaro syndicate had not yet been paid.

Barbaro told Mr X that Karam still owed about $600,000 and expressed frustration at Karam’s constant stalling over the debt.

Rob Karam owed big money. Picture: Australian Federal Police.

Rob Karam owed big money. Picture: Australian Federal Police. Source: Supplied

Bran chipped in that Karam should be punished for his conduct and told Mr X and Barbaro he knew people in Melbourne who could assist in recovering the money Karam owed.

Barbaro stated that he had already warned Karam that he would pay at the end of the day “either in money, or with his life.”

Some of those involved in the 4.4 tonne ecstasy importation — including Barbaro and Karam — also imported 150kg of cocaine into Melbourne on July 24, 2008, just a couple of weeks before the AFP made arrests in 2008 in connection with the 2007 ecstasy shipment and subsequent crimes.

They used corrupt dock workers in Panama to put three bags containing the cocaine in with bags of Columbian coffee beans in a container which was on its way to Melbourne.

The plan was to use corrupt dock workers in Melbourne to open the container just after it was unloaded, remove the three bags of cocaine and reseal the container with a genuine seal, which the workers in Panama had placed inside the container with the cocaine.

The cocaine shipment hidden in a container from Panama. Picture: Australian Federal Polic

The cocaine shipment hidden in a container from Panama. Picture: Australian Federal Police. Source: Supplied

This type of drug smuggling is known as the piggyback method, which involves drugs being placed in a legitimate cargo with the intention of the container being accessed and the drugs removed prior to delivery to the actual legitimate importer of the other goods in the container.

The plan failed as Customs officers picked up irregularities when they X-rayed the container and later found the cocaine during a search.

Karam’s Melbourne dock contacts were so good he knew Customs had found the cocaine within minutes of them discovering it.

He was caught on tape giving Barbaro the bad news and a police surveillance camera hidden in Barbaro’s Carlton apartment recorded Barbaro putting his head in his hands.

Ever the attentive and fawning lover, Sharon Ropa was caught on tape asking Barbaro if he wanted a drink of “water, coke, anything else?”

Barbaro replied: “Coke, we’d love 150kgs of it, but you know you haven’t got it.”

Gang members also had a container of what they thought was 100kg of chemicals to make ice on the way to Melbourne from India at the time arrests were made in August 2008.

It turned out the Indian crooks had ripped them off and the chemicals they sent hidden in furniture were not what the gang had paid for and couldn’t have been used to make illegal drugs.

Fadl Maroun, after his arrest. Picture: Australian Federal Police.

Fadl Maroun, after his arrest. Picture: Australian Federal Police. Source: Supplied

And Karam and fellow gang member Fadl Maroun were well advanced in their plans to buy tonnes of chemicals to ship to Australia and Mexico to be turned into ice.

Karam and Maroun were brought undone by some excellent undercover operatives in Hong Kong and Melbourne.

AFP agents knew from bugged telephone conversations that Karam was keen to buy tonnes of ice-making chemicals.

They set up an elaborate sting, with the help of Hong Kong police, whereby Karam became convinced he was dealing with a senior member of a Chinese organised crime gang with unlimited access to the chemicals needed to make ice.

Karam and Maroun flew to Hong Kong to meet that supposed Mr Big, who was using the name Michael, for the first time on March 13, 2008 and again for subsequent meetings on May 14 and July 2 that year.

Michael was actually an experienced Hong Kong police undercover agent.

Michael met Karam and Maroun at the Whampoa Lounge cafe, in Hong Kong’s Harbour Plaza on each of the three occasions. Every face to face meeting was secretly video and audio taped by police.

Karam and Maroun meeting 'Michael', the Hong Kong undercover officer. Picture: Australian

Karam and Maroun meeting ‘Michael’, the Hong Kong undercover officer. Picture: Australian Federal Police. Source: Supplied

Michael was posing as a Chinese crime boss who was interested in getting ecstasy pills from Karam in exchange for supplying Karam with tonnes of drug making chemicals from China.

As a result of the Hong Kong meetings with Michael, arrangements were made for Karam to meet with a female who Michael said was his criminal contact in Melbourne.

That female was an undercover AFP agent who was using the name Rosie during the sting operation.

Two meetings later occurred between Maroun, who was acting as Karam’s intermediary, and Rosie on May 10 and August 6, 2008, at the Middle Bar and Café in Middle Park. Both meetings at outdoor tables were secretly audio and video recorded as well as physically observed by hidden AFP agents.

During the May 10 meeting, Maroun gave Rosie a quantity of ecstasy and Rosie gave him $100,000 in cash.

This drug deal had been agreed to during Karam and Maroun’s first meeting with Michael in Hong Kong on March 13, 2008, and was seen by Karam as a stepping stone to ensure Michael supplied the chemicals Karam was after.

Michael told Karam during the Hong Kong meeting they would do the ecstasy deal first and if it was successful he would turn his mind to providing the chemicals.

Doing it that way ensured that even if the AFP’s grand plan to get Karam over the conspiracy to import tonnes of chemicals failed they would at least have the Melbourne ecstasy deal to charge him with.

The Harbour Plaza Hotel in Hong Kong.

The Harbour Plaza Hotel in Hong Kong. Source: News Limited

Michael insisted in his meetings with Karam and Maroun in Hong Kong that an upfront payment of an amount equivalent to $20,000 needed to be paid as a sign of good faith and explained that such payment was required before “his people” would start production of the chemicals.

Michael and Karam and Maroun provided each other with “safe” telephone numbers that supposedly couldn’t be traced back to them and which should only be used to communicate with each other to organise the deal.

The AFP bugged those phones and retrieved incriminating text messages from them, as well as recorded conversations.

Listening devices at the first meeting between Michael and Karam and Maroun in Hong Kong caught Karam bragging to Michael about having four million ecstasy tablets in Melbourne that could be used to pay for the chemicals he wanted Michael to supply. He said they were good quality pills imported from professional laboratories in Amsterdam.

Karam told Michael he wanted liquid chemicals, rather than crystals, to make ice, and that he wanted them shipped to Italy and that the first shipment should be two tonnes.

He told Michael he wanted it to be liquid “because the avenue we have from Italy to Australia is liquid”.

Karam said he had a cook arranged to turn the liquid into ice for sale in Australia.

Keen to seal the deal, Karam promised Michael he could have a share of the profit from the first batch of ice.

He upped the ante during his second meeting with Michael in Hong Kong on May 14, 2008.

Karam said he now wanted 20 tonnes of chemicals and that he wanted it sent to Mexico instead of Italy because “they don’t even check”.

He and Michel exchanged many texts between that May 14 meeting and the third Hong Kong meeting on July 2, 2008.

The texts related to the first shipment being of five tonnes to Mexico and a bit of haggling over the price Karam needed to pay.

One of the texts from Karam to Michael said: “OK, that’s fine about the money but is the 5 ton ready to go as my people are ready to start on that now.”

Michael texted back: “Yes we will start getting that ready once we have received the agreed amount. How soon do u think u will be back up here.”

Karam replied: “I have the agreed amount with me and will pass it to you as soon as I arrive there. Trust me I will not cheat you. I promise. If the first five is ready I can come anytime. Are we able to get just a small sample of it?”

Michael was told by Karam that he wanted a total of 26 tonnes of chemicals, with 20 tonnes going to Mexico and six tonnes to Australia.

The drug ice can fetch an estimated $1m per kilogram on the streets.

The drug ice can fetch an estimated $1m per kilogram on the streets. Source: Supplied

The Australian Crime Commission puts the going rate for a single hit of ice (0.1 gram) on the streets of Melbourne at $100.

Karam’s planned importation of 26 tonnes of chemicals would have made 13 tonnes of ice with a street value of $13 billion.

Karam and Maroun flew back to Hong Kong to meet Michael again on July 2, 2008, to thrash out more details.

They discussed how Karam would provide the $20,000 to Michael to start the ball rolling.

Karam was recorded telling Michael he wanted the first batch of five tonnes of chemicals to be delivered to a factory in Mexico.

He said his chemist would fly from Australia to Mexico as soon as the chemicals arrived and would do the cook in Mexico.

“Everything is ready to start,” Karam was recorded telling Michael.

“The cook is ready. The chemist is ready, the factory is ready. Everything is there waiting.”

Karam told Michael he had 100,000 ecstasy pills in hand to pay for the chemicals.

Karam wanted to cook the drug ice in massive quantities, reminiscent of the TV series Breaking Bad. Picture: AMC Source: Supplied

He also asked Michael if there was any possibility of importing guns along with the chemicals, but that the “pseudo is more important that the guns”.

Karam flew back to Australia and immediately began trying to find investors in Australia to fund the 26-tonne chemical venture — it has been one of Karam’s traits throughout his long criminal career to use other people’s money to pay for the drug shipments he organised.

He didn’t approach Barbaro or any of his gang members for cash. The 26-tonne chemical importation was a Karam frolic that Barbaro wasn’t involved in or aware of.

Karam was struggling to quickly get the funds he needed so he sent a text to Michael on July 22, 2008, apologising for the delay and claiming the “cartel war in Mexico” was making communications with his Mexican contacts difficult.

But Karam assured Michael he still wanted the tonnes of chemicals and that he hoped Michael would be patient while the Mexico hitch was being sorted out.

Michael responded with a text saying “just let me know when you are ready, but nothing can start here till we get what we agreed on”.

Maroun met Rosie at the Middle Park cafe on August 6, 2008, and gave her ecstasy tablets worth $20,000.

Karam was ecstatic when Michael texted later that day to say Rosie had confirmed she had received payment.

Michael told Karam receipt of the payment meant “my people are ready to start things right away”.

Karam didn’t stay ecstatic for long.

Armed with more than enough evidence of Karam’s involvement in the conspiracy to buy the 26 tonnes of chemicals, as well as his prominent roles in the 4.4 tonne ecstasy importation and 150kg cocaine shipment, the AFP arrested him during an early morning raid on his Kew home on August 8, 2008 — just two days after he sealed the ambitious chemical deal with Michael.


linked with Mafia-Labor expels figure Victorian ALP delegate Michael Teti

Posted on July 7, 2015 by Robbo

Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard

   

Frank Madafferi and Michael Teti.

The Labor party will expel Victorian ALP delegate Michael Teti after revelations the Moreland Councillor allegedly supplied a gun to a Mafia henchman who then used it to threaten a woman, and moved funds on behalf of convicted crime boss Frank Madafferi.

Mr Teti, who was recently found guilty of weapons offences, secretly spent months working as Madafferi’s business manager in the full knowledge that  Madafferi was an underworld boss with a lengthy criminal record for violent crimes and drugs.

Mr Teti’s vehicle has also been searched multiple times by police, who have discovered drug paraphernalia — believed to be an ice pipe — and, on two separate occasions, ammunition.

Documents obtained during a major Fairfax Media and Four Cornersinvestigation reveal that Mr Teti acted as an adviser and gofer for Madafferi while the Mafia boss was facing serious drug trafficking charges, for which he was recently jailed.

During this period, Mr Teti also secured one of Frank Madafferi’s associates – who subsequently was charged with criminal offences over a violent bashing – a job in federal Labor Senator Mehmet Tillem’s office. There is no suggestion Mr Tillem, who is no longer a senator, knew that Mr Teti or his now former employee had close ties to Madafferi.

Despite knowledge within the Labor party of Mr Teti’s ties with crime, the ALP invited him in March to the party’s state conference, allowing him to vote on policy and party issues.

The ALP scrambled to expel Mr Teti on Friday after Fairfax Media sent Premier Daniel Andrews a series of questions about Mr Teti’s behaviour.

A spokesman for the Premier said in a statement: “We have been informed that the State Secretary, Noah Carroll, has lodged the necessary documents to seek the expulsion of Mr Teti from the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party.”

The revelations about Mr Teti’s acitivities raise further questions about the Mafia’s infiltration of Australian politics.

Last year, Labor Roads and Ports minister Luke Donnellan accused a number of Liberal backbenchers of having “lips … dripping with blood from criminals” after revelations that Mafia members had organised political fundraisers for the party as recently as 2013.

Last week, Fairfax Media and Four Corners revealed police reports documenting how Mafia figures, including alleged crime bosses closely linked to Frank Madafferi, had infiltrated the Liberal Party as part of efforts to get Madafferi a visa.

Madafferi, whose criminal convictions for extortion, drugs and Mafia activity date back to the 1980s, appointed Mr Teti as his business manager in around 2013.

Confidential documents show that Mr Teti was handling Madafferi’s finances, moving money for his fruit shop businesses, Mondo Fruit, placing advertisements for Madafferi in Italian newspapers and importing foodstuffs for the crime boss from Italy. Madafferi has used his fruit shops as a base for his drug trafficking although there is no suggestion Mr Teti is personally involved in the illegal trade.

The most serious allegations involving Mr Teti relate to a gun he owned, which was allegedly used by a man called Michael Villeva, who also works for Madafferi.

Mr Villeva is suspected of using Mr Teti’s weapon to threaten a woman in Doreen in Melbourne’s north-east.

Mr Teti did not respond to specific questions about his relationship with Madafferi or Mr Villeva. But in a statement denying any wrongdoing, Mr Teti’s lawyer, Stefanie Chillico, said Mr Teti’s ties to Madafferi and Villeva were confined to a “professional relationship he had with them” while Mr Teti worked at a legal firm. Several well-placed sources said Mr Teti’s explanation was false.

Mr Teti controls two local ALP branches in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, and has had the ability with his allies in Labor’s right faction to influence the nomination of political candidates and ALP policy.

The ALP failed to take action against Mr Teti after he was found guilty late last year of weapons offences, including possessing a flick knife and carrying a loaded firearm in public. However, the full extent of Mr Teti’s activities has never been publicly revealed until now.

Fairfax Media can also reveal that Mr Teti has provided his vehicle to another alleged criminal and associate of Frank Madafferi, after which it was searched by police on Lygon street. Police found bullets and paraphernalia for using methylamphetamine inside Mr Teti’s car.

In 2012, local council records reveal that Mr Teti received political donations from Frank Madafferi’s brother, Tony Madafferi. Tony Madafferi was recently banned from Victoria’s Crown Casino by the Victoria Police chief commissioner because of his alleged organised crime ties.

Mr Teti has also been a regular visitor to one of Frank Madafferi’s Melbourne properties.

Federal police Detective Superintendent Matt Warren said Frank Madafferi “has a very high standing within the ‘Ndrangheta [Calabrian Mafia] in Melbourne,” and that any political figure needed to “be very careful in dealings with Francesco Madafferi”.

“It’s a real risk for them to be associated with organised crime figures.”

Mr Teti was found guilty last December of several weapons offences. He told police that the weapons were in his car because he planned to go on a hunting trip, which was later cancelled.

Mr Teti sought to avoid a formal finding of guilt, but Magistrate Michael Wighton found his conduct was “too serious”.

While the magistrate found Mr Teti did not have “criminal intent” when he left the weapons in his car, Mr Wighton said the firearm could have been obtained by others.

Mr Teti received a six-month good behaviour bond, with Mr Wighton saying Teti has “very good character” and his offending should not impede his “ambitions in public service”.


The Mafia in Australia: Blood Ties

By Nick McKenzie, Clay Hichens and Klaus Toft

July 7, 2015 

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2015/07/06/4266149.htm

                             

                                       The Mafia in Australia Part Two: Blood Ties -
                 inside one of the most ambitious organised crime investigations in Australian history.

It's one of the most ambitious organised crime investigations in Australian history. An epic surveillance operation which uncovered 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy, worth half a billion dollars - the world's largest ecstasy bust.

But the drugs themselves were just the beginning...

The drug syndicate inadvertently led the police right to the heart of the Calabrian mafia in Australia.

In the second part of this Four Corners/Fairfax Mediainvestigation we take you inside the police operation, with access to the investigators, their surveillance footage and telephone intercepts.

But as the program reveals, there's no doubt the mafia is back in business.

"These groups are very difficult to defeat. They regroup, they rebound, they reorganise." Police Investigator

The mafia has a unique resource to draw on: its network of families.

"The links are tight and they are based on the one thing... blood ties." Mafia Expert

"You will have the baton passed essentially from father to son, from father to nephew, and they will continue to use those very strong family links take over essentially the family business." Police Investigator

Reporter Nick McKenzie reveals the next crop of crime figures running operations in Australia and their continuing attempts to infiltrate political parties on both sides of the divide.

"Organised crime figures will try and cultivate people of all walks of life, but particularly people with influence." Police Investigator

You can also see Part One: Drugs, Murder and Politics on the Four Corners website and ABC iview.

The Mafia in Australia Part Two: "Blood Ties", reported by Nick McKenzie and presented by Kerry O'Brien, goes to air on Monday 6th of July at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 7th at 10.00am and Wednesday 8th July at midnight. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.

Monday 29 June 2015

The Mafia in Australia Part 2: Blood Ties

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Tonight on Four Corners: the inside story of the world's biggest ecstasy bust and how the mafia rebuilt its roots in Australia.

CLIVE SMALL, FMR ASST. COMMISSIONER, NSW POLICE: Here we are, some 30 to 40 years later: the same families involved in major drugs, still, ah, from that time.

MATT WARREN, DET. SUPT., AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE: You will have, ah, the baton passed essentially from father to son, from father to nephew; and they will continue to use those very strong family links, ah, and will take over, essentially, the family business.

ANNA SERGI, DR., UNI. OF WEST LONDON: The links are there. The links are tight and they are based on the one thing that keeps all the 'ndrangheta clans together, which is blood ties.

KERRY O'BRIEN: The Calabrian mafia's tentacles have a long, deep reach within Australia. You'll see tonight how one of those tentacles was cut off after an extensive cloak-and-dagger sting operation against the mafia's most powerful Australian drug lord.

For the first time we can now recount in gripping detail just how the police busted the network.

You'll hear the villains condemn themselves with their own words.

We also detail how reporter Nick McKenzie found himself at the centre of an extraordinary attempt by second-generation mafia boss Pat Barbaro to flush out the police operation: an action that finally put him and many associates behind bars.

But with a massive bankroll at its disposal, the 'ndrangheta or "honoured society" has simply regrouped - and today it's business as usual, with yet another generation of leaders and an ongoing web of influence through Australia's public institutions, including our parliaments.

In the second strand of our Four Corners and Fairfax Media joint investigation, Nick McKenzie identifies two of those alleged leaders and throws further light on 'ndrangheta political clout.

NICK MCKENZIE, REPORTER: In the darkness of an August night in 2008, heavily armed Federal Police launched a series of sweeping raids across the country.

The raids were the climax to one of the most ambitious organised crime investigations in Australian history.

They targeted one of the world's most secretive and powerful international mafia organisations: the Calabrian 'ndrangheta or "honoured society".

CLIVE SMALL, FMR ASST. COMMISSIONER, NSW POLICE: The Calabrian mafia in Australia is the longest-running crime organisation that we've ever had. It's been continuously operating, ah, for nearly 93 years now and looks as though it's going to go for another 100.

MATT WARREN, DET. SUPT., AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE: There's no question that the, ah, the Calabrian mafia -or the 'ndrangheta as they're also known -are a global, ah, enterprise and certainly what we saw during this investigation, ah, was exactly that: that this was a - they had a global reach.

NICK MCKENZIE: The story of this enormous Australian police operation started in June 2007: the discovery on Melbourne's wharves beyond all expectations.

ANDREA PAVLEKA, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, COMMONWEALTH DPP: At the time of the seizure, it was the largest seizure of ecstasy in the world and, ah, some 15 million tablets were actually seized by the police.

MATT WARREN: We're talking about 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy: an enormous value of drugs. We're talking about $500 million, um, worth of, ah, worth of ecstasy.

NICK MCKENZIE: The drugs had been carefully hidden inside a consignment of canned tomatoes imported from Italy.

Federal Police secretly seized the drugs and then put the container back on the wharf, hoping to arrest whoever showed up to collect it.

As the shipping container sat unclaimed on the dock, the suspected drug plotters gathered at this Melbourne hotel. They didn't know their hotel room had been bugged by the Federal Police.

As police listened in via a hidden microphone in their sixth-floor room, it soon became clear the suspects feared a trap.

SUSPECT 1 (AFP surveillance audio): If there's cameras there and if it's flagged, it'd be f****n' 24/7 under surveillance. There'd be nothing we could do.

SUSPECT 2 (AFP surveillance audio): Oh, mate, you'd have 20 million f****n' coppers just f****n' watching that one, f****n' waiting for someone to pick it up.

NICK MCKENZIE: As days became weeks with no-one arriving to claim the shipment, lead investigator Detective Superintendent Matt Warren, feared something had gone wrong.

MATT WARREN: Your emotions are up and down. You know, you've got that constant expectation that someone will, will come and, and that you'll get a result. And when that's looking less and less likely, without question i-it's a, it's disheartening.

NICK MCKENZIE: Police soon realised why no-one had come to collect the container.

Due to a clerical mix-up, the drug importers never got the phone call to confirm their shipment had arrived. They had no idea if their container had been lost, stolen or seized.

MATT WARREN: The number, we would allege, on the paperwork was a false phone that would go to the criminal syndicate. And they would redirect the container to, ah, a warehouse under their control. Well, of course, that didn't occur for them; they never received the call.

So you had quite a strange situation with a container purporting to be full of drugs sitting in a freight forwarder's yard and no-one going anywhere near it.

ANDREA PAVLEKA: I think in the short term, it looked like a setback to the investigators because, obviously, at the start of this investigation they were just probably hoping for a quick result where the criminals will come and pick up the container and they'd move in and arrest them.

So initially it looked like a setback and that meant the investigation had to run, ah, quite a lot longer.

MATT WARREN: In fact, it was a turning point and it allowed us to go from, ah, arresting some of the lower-level suspects to move up the chain and-and take out some of the, um, the, probably the highest-profile organised crime figures in Australia.

NICK MCKENZIE: The men police had under surveillance were suspected members of Australia's most notorious mafia cells.

The man at the centre of the group was a New South Wales mafia boss called Pasquale "Pat" Barbaro. Barbaro appeared to be the man calling the shots.

ANDREA PAVLEKA: He was issuing directives to people in terms of what was to happen within the business. He was very hands-on. Um, I think he w- he was, ah, in the detail of this business. He certainly wasn't a hands-off manager. I think the evidence very much revealed him, ah, to be, ah, very busy, very active, um, hard-working.

MATT WARREN: What we saw was a man who was driven. He was, ah, energetic. He would drive, ah, the, their operations. He was very much a leader.

NICK MCKENZIE: As the suspects discussed what had gone wrong with their shipment, their hotel room conversations were being monitored on a police listening bug.

It recorded members of the group discussing whether to storm the Port of Melbourne to find their missing drugs.

SUSPECT 3 (AFP surveillance audio): I don't know what control they have over the f****n' docks there. I'd run a team in there and f****n' fully arm them up and just say, "Listen, this is how it is." Get a crane driver on site and f****n' hitch her up, roost it on the back of a still-hot semi. I mean, there'll be no harm down there. No-one's armed.

MATT WARREN: For the criminals: they were madly scrambling to try and locate the container, because at that point they- it had gone missing. Ah, and certainly it became very clear to them, ah, although they weren't able to confirm that, that it- the container had been intercepted.

NICK MCKENZIE: The listening bug also revealed associates of Pat Barbaro describing his growing fears that either police - or another criminal syndicate - had seized his drugs.

SUSPECT 4 (AFP surveillance audio): Pat's f***ed ... devastated ... he's f****n' shocked. What he's got to realise now: he's got to realise that it's pinched.

MATT WARREN: Our view was that if we continued to investigate them, they would need to talk about the fact that they had not received these pills that they had lost. They're talking about a huge financial blow, um, to a syndicate.

Um, there would be a lot of people who would be owed a lot of money. There would be a lot of people who would have had an expectation of receiving a lot of money out of this.

Um, so therefore people need to talk, they need to discuss. And that was where we were hoping that we would start to gather some evidence, ah, of what had occurred.

NICK MCKENZIE: Police believed if they followed Pat Barbaro, he could lead them into the heart of the secret operations of the Calabrian mafia.

The investigation soon headed to Barbaro's home town of Griffith in NSW, the historical epicentre of the 'ndrangheta in Australia.

MATT WARREN: Certainly in the early stages of his life he was convicted over a cultivation of, ah, of marijuana plants. And, and that's, um, you know, fairly common in the, in the Griffith area. We've seen historically the Calabrian mafia involved in, in marijuana crop growing, um, in that sort of, ah, NSW area, that Griffith, ah, general area.

NICK MCKENZIE: In the 1950s thousands of Italian migrants came to Australia to seek new lives. Many honest families from the mountain villages of Calabria were drawn to the rich farmland around Griffith in the NSW Riverina district.

In the decades that followed, a small number of Calabrian migrants began amassing unexplained wealth.

CLIVE SMALL: They lived a life that was quite separate to the traditional Griffith resident in that they were building big homes. They... ah, if it was a dry period, that didn't seem to worry them: they still had the money. They didn't do it tough like many of the farmers and others in Griffith were doing it. And it caused a lot of concern and I can understand why.

NICK MCKENZIE: In the 1970s Donald Mackay, a local furniture shop owner and political candidate, began campaigning for police action against local farmers suspected of secretly growing marijuana.

After police busted a huge local marijuana crop, Mackay suddenly became a marked man.

In 1977 he disappeared after leaving a local pub.

CLIVE SMALL: When these crops were seized, he was blamed for it. That's what caused his murder. He had cost the Calabrian mafia too much money. It was time to stop. "If we can get rid of Donald McKay, we can get back to growing the crops." That was the simple logic of it.

(Footage of Clive Small and Nick McKenzie at the site of Donald McKay's murder)

And he appears to have been shot as he was attempting to unlock the car.

NICK MCKENZIE: Former NSW assistant police commissioner Clive Small spent years investigating the Calabrian mafia.

CLIVE SMALL: There was some blood found on the ground here, near the car. There were three spent shells, suggesting he'd been shot three times. And the keys to the car were on the ground. So that was the last that was, um, seen of him leaving the hotel. Never been found to this day.

NICK MCKENZIE: Griffith's Calabrian mafia cell also had a powerful avenue of political influence through the local Federal MP, Al Grassby.

When Grassby visited Calabria as immigration minister in 1974, he was treated to a hero's welcome.

CLIVE SMALL: Well, I am aware: while he was the immigration minister there were a number of people who got visas and were able to stay in Australia who were of highly questionable character. And I think any reasonable look at them would raise questions about: why was that done if it wasn't done for corrupt purposes?

I don't think there's any question that Al Grassby was significantly corrupt. His attempts after the Mackay, Donald Mackay murder to move the blame away from the real killers and make suggestions that, ah, Donald Mackay's wife and others were involved in the murder was disgraceful. And I don't think any man with any sort of decency could justify that.

NICK MCKENZIE: Responding to the public outcry over Mackay's disappearance, the NSW Government set up a royal commission, headed by Justice Woodward, to investigate drug trafficking networks.

Clive Small was one of the commission's investigators.

(Archive footage of investigators, Woodward Commission)

INVESTIGATOR (archive): What's the lighting here?

NICK MCKENZIE: Clive Small was one of the commission's investigators.

(Footage ends)

CLIVE SMALL: The Woodward Royal Commission was extremely important in two ways: it really opened up the story about the Mackay murder; and in doing that it also opened up the story about the Calabrian mafia in Australia.

NICK MCKENZIE: Among the men investigated was a local farmer, Frank Barbaro, nicknamed "Little Trees" for the new orchards he'd planted.

(Footage of Clive Small and Nick McKenzie visiting an orchard)

CLIVE SMALL: Well, Frank "Little Trees" Barbaro was at the core of what you'd call the Calabrian mafia group in Griffith. He was one of the first to be growing substantial crops and he was one of the first, ah, Woodward found, to have significant f- additional and unexplained flows of money coming in.

NICK MCKENZIE: This money from the marijuana?

CLIVE SMALL: Money coming from the marijuana crops.

NICK MCKENZIE: OK.

(Footage ends)

NICK MCKENZIE: Frank "Little Trees" Barbaro had a son he named Pasquale, but who everyone else called Pat.

Pat Barbaro learned the family trade.

CLIVE SMALL: Pat Barbaro is clearly one of those people that we hear about being "classic mafia". That is: he's, he's born into the family, which is already a significant part of the Calabrian mafia or a family clan. So he's been born into the Calabrian mafia; into one of the head families.

MATT WARREN: Certainly, um, what we see with this is, ah, is what we've seen historically with the 'ndrangheta: that you will have, ah, the baton passed essentially from father to son, from father to nephew; and that the, that they will continue to use those very strong family links, ah, and will take over, essentially, the family business.

NICK MCKENZIE: Pat Barbaro took over his father's business, expanding it from cannabis crops to drug importation.

CLIVE SMALL: Here is Justice Woodward in the 1970s: warned the federal and state governments and the law enforcement about this threat involving these people. And here we are, some 30 to 40 years later: the same families involved in major drugs, still, ah, from that time. And if you look at, ah, Pasquale Barbaro's history into it, he'd been involved in drugs almost all of his life.

NICK MCKENZIE: Clive Small says that the Woodward Royal Commission's recommendations to launch a long-term anti-mafia campaign were ignored.

Soon the mafia faded from public view.

CLIVE SMALL: Well we've had for 16 years a denial that there is such a mafia in Australia - and I think that's part of the problem. If we had admitted that we had a problem with the Calabrian mafia, the public would be screaming for us to do something about it.

If we say it doesn't exist, then we don't have to do anything because there's nothing to respond to. And I think that's the problem. We've - it's been hidden from the public because it's too big a political problem.

NICK MCKENZIE: According to a secret 2003 National Crime Authority report obtained by Four Corners, police had for several years been confidentially warning that Pat Barbaro was part of a powerful Australian-Calabrian mafia network.

This network had "infiltrated members into, or recruited people from, public organisations, government and law enforcement."

One of Barbaro's criminal associates had even allegedly "paid off judges, costing approximately $2.2 million."

Barbaro himself was "suspected [of] using the profits obtained from cannabis cultivation to finance the importation of drugs from overseas."

MATT WARREN: Certainly by late 2006, early 2007 we were well aware, ah, of his, of, ah, his prominence and that he was extraordinarily active, um, in international crime.

CLIVE SMALL: If you have a look at his history: he's been involved in crops in NSW, in Queensland - that's cannabis. But then he seems to have moved into other drugs: ah, be it amphetamines, ecstasy and the like.

NICK MCKENZIE: By early 2007, police were investigating Pat Barbaro over several drug importations.

The biggest of them was the world-record ecstasy shipment that arrived in Melbourne from Italy in June 2007 - and which Barbaro had been unable to locate.

MATT WARREN: This was a continuation of a number of investigations that were occurring. The AFP were investigating, ah, and had investigated, um, Pat Barbaro over a number of years. Um, he was, ah, alleged to have been involved in a number of drug importations and we saw him as a major, ah, organised crime figure at the time.

NICK MCKENZIE: After secretly seizing the drugs, police then shifted the focus of their investigation to Italy, the source of the shipment.

Four Corners travelled to Calabria in Italy's deep south, the traditional home of the 'ndrangheta.

ANNA SERGI, DR., UNI. OF WEST LONDON: The 'ndrangheta in Calabria and the 'ndrangheta in Australia are tight: really right. Even if they migrated 50 years ago they still are very connected, even in a nostalgic way, to the motherland which is Calabria. So the - the links are there. The links are tight and they are based on the one thing that keeps all the 'ndrangheta clans together, which is blood ties.

(Footage of Anna Sergi and Nick McKenzie driving into traffic tunnel, southern Italy)

ANNA SERGI: The most common thing that can happen is that someone refuses...

NICK MCKENZIE: Dr Anna Sergi is a Calabrian mafia expert who has studied the group's links to Australia.

(Footage ends)

ANNA SERGI: The Barbaro family is one of the oldest mafia families in Calabria. The Barbaro surname is a guarantee for: if you want to access certain drug routes, if you want to be involved in certain cross, trans-national business.

NICK MCKENZIE: In July 2007, one month after the massive drug shipment had disappeared in Melbourne, Pat Barbaro flew to Calabria.

When he arrived in the capital, Italian surveillance operatives working with the AFP were waiting and watching. They tailed Barbaro as he met several known Calabrian mafia figures linked to the ecstasy shipment.

The police who trailed Barbaro work with anti-mafia prosecutor Roberto Di Palma.

ROBERTO DI PALMA, ANTI-MAFIA PROSECUTOR (translation): The fact that Pasquale Barbaro came here and met representatives of important families demonstrates that the Barbaro family is a family of primary importance in the criminal spectrum.

But it shows something else as well: and that is the need to maintain face-to-face contact. Technology can be helpful in keeping connections in this global village and it can also be used toward illicit ends. Nevertheless, there are certain subjects, either strategic or general, that must be discussed in person.

NICK MCKENZIE: Italian police identified another Australian allegedly working with Barbaro in Calabria: Adelaide construction industry figure Paul Alvaro.

Italian police files allege that Paul Alvaro was assisting Pat Barbaro with his drug trafficking enterprise, a claim Alvaro strongly denies.

NICOLA GRATTERI, ANTI-MAFIA PROSECUTOR (translation): The Alvaro family is one of the most important 'ndrangheta families. Not only the Alvaro but also the Barbaro family. It has a strong presence in Australia.

The 'ndrangheta have a strong presence in Australia: not only in marijuana cultivation, but also cocaine traffic and employment in the public sector.

NICK MCKENZIE: In Calabria, Barbaro's explanation to his mafia bosses about why their drug shipment was missing did not go down well.

MATT WARREN: Barbaro flew to Europe to meet with the syndicate heads. And by this stage we'd established that there was an enormous debt that was owed and, and that he would have to pay the bill or, you know, he, he would be, ah, probably held accountable.

And, and within that ah that type of, ah, group - the 'ndrangheta, the Calabrian organised crime - we would expect that he potentially would suffer the ultimate consequences.

NICK MCKENZIE: You mean he would be killed?

MATT WARREN: Yeah, that th-there could potentially be a contract taken out on him.

NICK MCKENZIE: On Barbaro's return to Melbourne, police continued to watch and record his every move. He was getting increasingly desperate.

(Footage from AFP surveillance video)

In this surveillance video, police believe Barbaro was threatening a criminal he suspected of stealing his drugs from the docks.

MATT WARREN: Certainly there's some friction. And as pressure starts to mount, as disappointment starts to mount, we can certainly see fractions within the group a-and certainly some bickering. A-and you know, this is brought about by the enormous pressure that they're under for this to be successful.

NICK MCKENZIE: Barbaro and his fellow criminals suspected they were being watched and began to engage in elaborate counter-surveillance measures.

ANDREA PAVLEKA: Their conversations over the phone or via text message were often cryptic and coded. They would often speak in public areas: for example, parks. Also this particular group of criminals, ah, changed their SIM cards over regularly, so that if they thought their phones were being bugged, they would basically just, ah, get rid of that phone and move onto another phone.

NICK MCKENZIE: Barbaro was determined to find out what had happened to his massive drug shipment. So he made a risky move and reached out to a journalist.

In September 2007, I received a phone call from a blocked number. The man on the other end asked me if I wanted to report on the world's biggest drug shipment.

I didn't know it then, but that man was Pat Barbaro. And he wanted me to confirm that the drugs has been seized by police and then to report this, so it could be read by his bosses back in Calabria.

Using a mobile phone registered in a false name, Pat Barbaro sent a series of text messages to spur me into action. The texts were detailed, describing among other things the number of pills in the ecstasy drug shipment.

Sensing something sinister was afoot, I reported nothing; so a desperate Barbaro sent more and more information.

Neither he nor I realised this would later prove crucial to the police case.

MATT WARREN: Looking at the historical metadata of, um, the, the phones that had been purchased, we were able actually to put those mobile phones in Barbaro's hand. And those phones sent text messages that were tantamount to a confession.

ANDREA PAVLEKA: The SMS messages with you showed that Barbaro had critical knowledge of the contents of that container. He knew exactly what was in the container and he was able to convey that to you in those SMS text messages, so that was a, a terrific link, ah, for the prosecution to have, ah, in this particular matter.

NICK MCKENZIE: In early 2008, Barbaro began to organise new drug deals to raise the cash to pay off the debt from his botched importation.

ANDREA PAVLEKA: Certainly within months, ah, the Barbaro syndicate were back in business. They had access to 1.2 million ecstasy tablets which seemed to originate from Sydney. And, ah, really, the sale of that 1.2 million ecstasy tablets was then used to pay down the debt to the European suppliers for that, um, missed importation.

So very quickly, ah, they had regrouped and obviously their business model was such that they were able to sustain a massive hit to their bottom line.

NICK MCKENZIE: As police kept watching, Barbaro began leading them to other mafia bosses.

These surveillance photos show Barbaro meeting his drug-dealing partner, notorious Melbourne gangster Frank Madafferi.

Police suspected Madafferi had invested in the massive ecstasy importation.

ANDREA PAVLEKA: Madafferi was a buyer of ecstasy tablets from Barbaro. Barbaro had a number of people who really, I suppose, were wholesalers and distributors of his ecstasy tablets. And, um, Madafferi was one of those persons.

NICK MCKENZIE: In 2008, police observed Pat Barbaro and his associates meeting up with greengrocer Frank Madafferi near his suburban fruit shop.

(Audio excerpt from telephone call, AFP surveillance audio)

FRANK MADAFFERI (AFP surveillance audio): What now? What now?

PAT BARBARO (AFP surveillance audio; translation): I'm out front.

FRANK MADAFFERI (AFP surveillance audio; translation): Bloody hell.

PAT BARBARO (AFP surveillance audio; translation): Yeah, no worries. Bye. Bye.

(Excerpt ends)

NICK MCKENZIE: Barbaro handed Madafferi boxes which police suspected contained drugs.

ANDREA PAVLEKA: Ultimately, ah, we were able to prove that Madafferi trafficked in around 57,000 ecstasy pills, ah, for Barbaro, ah, valued at between, I think, about $1.2 million and $2.2 million.

NICK MCKENZIE: Like Barbaro, Frank Madafferi's roots were back in Calabria, where he'd racked up a serious criminal record before sneaking into Australia on a tourist visa in 1989.

Last week, Four Corners revealed how Frank Madafferi used an extraordinary network of political donors, including his brother Tony Madafferi, to lobby politicians to overturn a deportation order.

Frank Madafferi was allowed to stay in Australia, despite Victoria Police warning he was a dangerous mafia figure.

MATT WARREN: Clearly, he served an apprenticeship - and a fairly violent one - in Italy, before he came to Australia. I think he's a si- he's a significant figure. Ah, he-he's been, ah, involved for a very long time.

NICK MCKENZIE: By 2008, Frank Madafferi was busy trafficking drugs supplied by Pat Barbaro. He was also issuing threats to other drug dealers who owed him money.

(Audio excerpt from telephone call, AFP surveillance audio)

FRANK MADAFFERI (AFP surveillance audio; translation): Tell him to go back and bring me the money and not to break my f****n' balls! I'm going to f****n' get him and eat him alive!

PAT BARBARO (AFP surveillance audio; translation): What did he do?

FRANK MADAFFERI (AFP surveillance audio; translation): He went sneakingly to see where those boys take the stuff. He gave the things cheaper. Tell him I want the profit! It's not f****n' his! Or I'm going to bite his throat!

(Excerpt ends)

NICK MCKENZIE: The mafia syndicate used this apartment in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton as a safe house to run their drug operation.

MATT WARREN: Certainly, once we identified that, um, that Barbaro was going to rent an apartment or a townhouse in-in Carlton, we were really excited about that because finally, ah, we-we really saw ourselves getting ahead of the game. We could actually, ah, be a part of the conversation, so we could listen in and we could hear what they were planning.

NICK MCKENZIE: Federal police agents waited until Pat Barbaro had left the apartment before sneaking inside, planting several audio bugs and cameras.

The AFP began watching and listening as Barbaro, speaking in code, discussed massive drug deals involving Frank Madafferi and other mafia figures.

(Excerpt of AFP surveillance video, recorded Jun. 25 2008)

PAT BARBARO: Let's say he's got 100 grams of dust: divide it by 0.3 equals 100 grams: yeah, it's 333 pills. So we have to collect a shit load of money, you know?

What does Sandwich owe?

FEMALE VOICE (off-screen): A hundred and thirty-three, 200.

PAT BARBARO: What's Bill owe?

FEMALE VOICE (off-screen): Two fifty-five.

PAT BARBARO: What's the fruit man?

FEMALE VOICE (off-screen): Seventy-two and a half.

(Excerpt ends)

ANDREA PAVLEKA: The bug picked up Barbaro reviewing his books of account. He kept quite comprehensive, ah, books of account which related to the drug trafficking business and that would list customers and the amount of pills that had been sold to them and the amount of money that was owed to him. So both the camera and the listening device in that unit provided very compelling evidence.

NICK MCKENZIE: In August 2008, after months of surveillance work, the Federal Police had finally gathered enough evidence to step out of the shadows and move against the mafia bosses.

In the pre-dawn darkness, heavily armed police massed at assembly points in Griffith, NSW, Melbourne and Adelaide - knowing some of their targets were unpredictable, armed and dangerous.

At the Carlton safe house, police found these handguns buried in the garden.

Inside Pat Barbaro's Griffith mansion police found guns, drugs and cash - along with a 'Scarface' poster.

(Footage of press conference, August 2008)

MICK KEELTY, AFP COMMISSIONER (Aug. 2008): This is part of a global international syndicate. Ah, this is a major disruption to trans-national organised crime both in this country and abroad. For the AFP: in our 30-year history, this is the largest operation we've ever undertaken.

(Footage ends)

(Excerpt of AFP video of Frank Madafferi being questioned)

POLICE OFFICER: To the allegation that you, Francesco Madafferi, trafficked a substance - the substance being MDMA - and that the quantity trafficked was commercial quantity: do you understand that?

FRANK MADAFFERI: (Laughs)

(Video cuts to later. An interpreter repeats the question in Calabrese)

INTERPRETER (translation): Do you understand that allegation?

FRANK MADAFFERI: Si.

INTERPRETER: Yes, I understand.

POLICE OFFICER: What can you tell me about that allegation?

(Frank responds in Calabrese before interpreter can finish question)

INTERPRETER: I don't know anything about this bullshit.

NICK MCKENZIE (voiceover): When he was formally interviewed by police after his arrest, Frank Madafferi denied any involvement with Pat Barbaro's drug syndicate.

POLICE OFFICER: I'm trying to establish whether you owe Pasquale Barbaro $32,000 dollars.

INTERPRETER: No.

POLICE OFFICER: No, you don't?

INTERPRETER (translation): Have you ever purchased drugs from Pasquale Barbaro?

FRANK MADAFFERI: No.

INTERPRETER: No.

(Excerpt ends)

NICK MCKENZIE: Frank Madafferi chose to fight his drug charges. Late last year he was convicted and received a seven-year prison sentence.

Overwhelmed by the evidence against him, Pat Barbaro pleaded guilty and was jailed for 30 years over his role in the massive ecstasy shipment.

At final count, 32 mafia figures and their criminal associates were convicted for drug dealing and money laundering.

ANDREA PAVLEKA: There was an importation of 100 kilos of cocaine worth $40 million. There was a conspiracy to import 100 kilos of pseudoephedrine. There was trafficking in a further 1.2 million ecstasy pills and a very sophisticated money laundering operation as well, where they turned over about $10 million.

NICK MCKENZIE: Detective Superintendent Matt Warren and his Federal Police team may have smashed the syndicate behind the massive 2007 drug shipment.

But the Calabrian mafia's secretive network remains in place within Australia, able to rebuild its operations quickly.

MATT WARREN: I think that's the key to these groups: they are able to, ah regroup, rebound after, ah, suffering in this case, um, a loss that would, that would, ah, end most organised crime syndicates. And they've had this in the past: where they've suffered defeats at the hands of law enforcement, ah, but through those family connections they're able to rebuild.

NICK MCKENZIE: Political influence is a key factor in the mafia's resilience. For decades, the mafia has been building support on both sides of politics.

MATT WARREN: Well, certainly we've seen, ah, over the years that organised crime figures will try and cultivate, ah, people of all walks of life, but particularly people with influence.

We certainly see organised crime figures, ah, cultivating, ah, sporting, ah, stars. Ah, it's no different, ah, with political figures. They're looking to, um, to try and gain influence and gain power and use that towards, ah, potentially diverting attention away from themselves.

NICK MCKENZIE: Even after he was arrested, Frank Madafferi cultivated political contacts.

Victorian Labor Party delegate Michael Teti has previously worked in the state ALP head office, as well as for Federal MP Kelvin Thomson.

These days, Teti is an ALP councillor at Moreland City Council in Melbourne.

MICHAEL TETI, COUNCILLOR, MORELAND CITY COUNCIL: They misused our money under your watch.

NICK MCKENZIE: Four Corners has established that Teti spent months doing Frank Madafferi's banking and running his fruit business at the same time Madafferi was facing drug charges.

While there is no suggestion Teti was involved in drug trafficking, he allegedly supplied a gun to one of Frank Madafferi's mafia henchmen.

Teti was later found guilty of carrying a loaded gun in a public place and placed on a good behaviour bond.

Four Corners can also reveal that another Frank Madafferi associate worked in the office of then Labor senator Mehmet Tillem. This Madafferi associate is currently facing criminal charges over a violent bashing.

He got his job in the Labor senator's office with the help of Michael Teti. There is no suggestion that Mehmet Tillem knew that either Michael Teti or the man he employed were associates of Frank Madafferi.

(To Matt Warren) I'll cut straight to the chase. Does any political figure have any business working or associating with someone like Francesco Madafferi?

MATT WARREN: I would suggest that, ah, you would need to be very careful in dealings with Francesco Madafferi.

NICK MCKENZIE: As Four Corners revealed last week, Frank Madafferi's brother Tony also has powerful political connections, despite his criminal associations.

In 2008, Federal Police agents observed Tony Madafferi meeting Pat Barbaro and other drug traffickers on several occasions, including this gathering in the middle of a park.

Tony Madafferi has never been charged with any crime and denies any wrongdoing.

(To Matt Warren) What did the AFP allege to the court about the relationship between Pasquale Barbaro and Tony Madafferi?

MATT WARREN: Well, I think the, ah, the allegation that we, we put in court and the court documents would show that they were quite close, for sure: that there was a, a strong association between them.

NICK MCKENZIE: In 2013, Tony Madafferi hosted a Liberal Party fundraiser at this Docklands reception centre, part-owned by his drug trafficking brother Frank.

The guest speaker was State Liberal senior minister Matthew Guy, who is now the Victorian Opposition Leader.

Matthew Guy was unaware he was at an event hosted by an accused mafia figure.

But other Liberal figures in the room, including Federal MP Russell Broadbent, knew of Madafferi's alleged mafia connections.

CLIVE SMALL: I can't believe our politicians are so dopey that, having known the allegations, that they continued to accept money from a fundraiser. I find that so extremely difficult to understand: how they could do it or how they could be so naïve.

NICK MCKENZIE: Victoria's Police Commissioner has made his own assessment of Tony Madafferi, recently banning him from Melbourne's Crown Casino over his alleged mafia connections.

(To Matt Warren) What was your reaction when the Victorian Chief Police Commissioner banned Tony Madafferi from Crown Casino?

MATT WARREN: I wasn't surprised by that.

NICK MCKENZIE: Why not?

MATT WARREN: Well, I think once again, um, we see him as, ah, potentially someone who associates and has close associations with, ah, established organised crime figures, and they're not really the people, um, that the Chief Commissioner wanted in the casino environment.

NICK MCKENZIE: The mafia has allegedly infiltrated every layer of government.

Tony Vallelonga is the former mayor of Stirling in Perth. In 2011, the news broke that Italian anti-mafia prosecutors wanted to question Vallelonga over his alleged dealings in Calabria with a notorious mafia boss.

Vallelonga faced the media with his family and lawyer to vehemently deny the allegations.

TONY VALLELONGA (ABC News, March 2011): It's hurt me very much. It is very distressing - I'm 64 - to get this sort of, I want to call, "campaign: against me: that's what it is.

JOHN HAMMOND, LAWYER (ABC News, March 2011): The worst that can be said, assuming it was admitted - and it's not - is that Mr Vallelonga has spoken or had contact with Italian mafia figures. Now, firstly, that's denied. We don't know which figures they are talking about.

NICK MCKENZIE: Four Corners has learned that Italian prosecutors recently made far more detailed allegations in court about Tony Vallelonga. They allege he is an Australian mafia boss with the "role of leader within his locale" or mafia cell in Perth.

Prosecutors allege that, as part of this role, Vallelonga is responsible for "making the most important decisions", for "imparting orders or imposing sanctions on other subordinate associates."

In a statement sent to Four Corners, Tony Vallelonga's lawyer said any allegation the former mayor has ever been involved in criminal activity is "completely without any foundation."

The Calabrian mafia remains the dominant force in global drug trafficking.

Just three weeks ago, Italian and Spanish police teamed up with the US Drug Enforcement Agency to launch a series of dramatic raids from the air, sea and land. Police seized tonnes of cocaine and arrested dozens of Calabrian mafia figures.

Despite this success, the Italian prosecutor who oversaw the operation says the 'ndrangheta's global networks are as strong as ever.

NICOLA GRATTERI (translation): It is a very serious blow but today we have blocked only one organisation. There are so many other organisations at this level, like this kind of target, operating as we speak.

NICK MCKENZIE: Some of the suspects arrested in Calabria were members of the Italian Alvaro mafia clan. Prosecutor Nicola Gratteri says the Alvaros have a powerful cell operating in Australia.

NICOLA GRATTERI (translation): The Alvaro family is one of the most important 'ndrangheta families which has existed in the criminal world since the end of the 1800s. The 'ndrangheta has a strong presence in Australia and the fight against it is inadequate, given these families are growing even stronger.

NICK MCKENZIE: One of the alleged Alvaro clan bosses in Australia is Paul Alvaro.

Paul Alvaro was the man police suspected of helping Pat Barbaro import drugs into Australia back in 2007.

Italian police files allege Paul Alvaro has, like Pat Barbaro, risen to become a top 'ndrangheta figure, allegedly involved in international drug trafficking.

But this was never proven and Alvaro strongly denies any involvement in mafia activity. His only criminal conviction dates back to 1990, when he was jailed for tax offences.

REPORTER (ABC TV News, June 1990): The prosecution alleged the Alvaros lived grand lifestyles on the lowest of declared incomes and that they were involved in trafficking of marijuana.

NICK MCKENZIE: In Calabria, where people have long endured a political system deeply infiltrated by the mafia, prosecutor Roberto Di Palma has a warning for Australian authorities.

ROBERTO DI PALMA (translation): The biggest danger is to play at the 'ndrangheta's own game. That is: to allow the 'ndrangheta to expand, to take over more territory and to infiltrate the public sector, especially within the fabric of the executive managing level of the state.

And then at that point it becomes much more difficult to intervene because political decisions, at times, could, could - I'm speaking in theoretical terms - could be used as an instrument for the plans of the 'ndrangheta itself.

NICK MCKENZIE: Anti-mafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri says that, with police worldwide now focussed on terrorism, Australia cannot afford to be complacent about the hidden tentacles of the Calabrian mafia.

NICOLA GRATTERI (translation): I think Australia should look at the mafia problem, the 'ndrangheta problem again and not measure the presence or the strength of 'ndrangheta or any mafia by the number of people killed on the street or shootings at shop windows.

To understand who supplies cocaine to bars, discos and pubs; where the cocaine comes from and who controls it. Because whoever controls the cocaine: with those earnings they buy all the property for sale. In that way they control the market, they control the economy.

NICK MCKENZIE: The warnings from Italy resonate strongly with the man who led Australia's biggest mafia bust.

MATT WARREN: What we've seen is that these groups are very difficult to defeat. They regroup. They rebound. They reorganise. They have the international connections, ah, which I think is a crucial part of the, of the, the way they'll continue to operate.

There's no question that Italian organised crime - Calabrian organised crime in this case - will continue. They will reorganise and they'll continue to conduct unlawful activity - drug importations, white-collar crime - because it's their business.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Late on Friday we were advised by the Victorian branch of the Labor Party that it has moved to expel Michael Teti from the party.

Labor MP Kelvin Thompson has told us Teti only worked in his office for one month; that he had no idea of Teti's mafia connections and supports his expulsion.

Teti declined to be interviewed for the program but through his lawyers has denied any wrongdoing and said his relationship with Frank Madafferi was professional.

Next week on Four Corners: 10 years after the suicide bombings that rocked London, survivors and their rescuers recount that dramatic day and its aftermath.

Until then, good night.

END

NEWS UPDATES

Amanda Vanstone defends actions as immigration minister in case of crime figure Frank Madafferi | ABC News | 7 Jul 2015 -www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-07/vanstone-defends-actions-in-visa-case-of-crime-figure/6600326

Australian Mafia: the more it changes, the more it stays the same | The Age | 7 Jul 2015 -www.theage.com.au/national/australian-mafia-the-more-it-changes-the-more-it-stays-the-same-20150706-gi4l2n.html

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RESEARCH AND BACKGROUND

OPINION: Donations and democracy: how money is compromising our political system | ABC The Drum | 3 Jul 2015 - Joe Hockey's defamation case and the investigation into Mafia in Australia drive home how seriously the political process could be manipulated by money. Yet no one is taking much notice, writes Mike Steketee. www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-03/steketee-how-money-is-compromising-our-political-system/6589556

STUDY: Family Influence: Italian mafia crime group in Australia | Aug 2012 - Calabrian-based crime organisation the 'Ndrangheta has extended its inuence into Australia. Download this report by mafia expert Dr Anna Sergi.www.academia.edu/1810710/Family_Influence_Italian_mafia_crime_group_in_Australia

Ghosts of Griffith | The Australian Weekend Review | Jul 1997 - With the National Crime Authority under siege and the Wood Royal Commission exposing corruption in the New South Wales (NSW) police force, it seems we have not come a long way since the murder of anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay. Crime writer Bob Bottom revisits Griffith, 1977, and invokes the spirit of Mackay. www.gwb.com.au/gwb/news/onenation/press/ghosts.html

The Australian 'Ndrangheta Research Group | UCL - There is very good evidence that the 'ndrangheta has had a substantial presence in Australia since at least the 1930s. Yet for a variety of reasons, law enforcement, public opinion and academia in Australia have frequently seemed reluctant to discuss this criminal organisation. www.ucl.ac.uk/australian-ndrangheta/

Organised crime | ACCC - The Australian Crime Commission conservatively estimates serious and organised crime costs the Australian economy $15 billion each year. Find out about the organised crime groups operating in Australia and the types of crime they are involved in. www.crimecommission.gov.au/organised-crime

WATCH RELATED FOUR CORNERS

The Mafia in Australia Part One: Drugs, Murder and Politics | 29 Jun 2015 - Watch part one of Nick McKenzie's investigation into the Italian mafia in Australia.

Tags: drugs-and-substance-abuse, government-and-politics, laws, police, murder-and-manslaughter, drug-offences, crime-prevention, police-sieges, australia, italy

First posted July 6, 2015


'Ndrangheta

http://www.smh.com.au/national/perth-man-linked-with-mafia-boss-20110309-1bo10.html

The 'Ndràngheta (Italian pronunciation: )[2] is organized crimecentered in Calabria, Italy. Despite not being as famous abroad as the Sicilian Mafia, and having been considered more rural than theNeapolitan Camorra and the Apulian Sacra Corona Unita, the 'Ndrangheta became the most powerful crime syndicate in Italy in the late 1990s and early 2000s. While commonly tied together with the Sicilian Mafia, the 'Ndrangheta operates independently from them, though there is contact between the two, due to the geographical proximity and shared culture and language between Calabria and Sicily. A US diplomat estimated that the organization's narcotics trafficking, extortion and money laundering activities accounted for at least 3% of Italy's GDP.[3] Since the 1950s, the organization has spread towards Northern Italy and worldwide. According to a 2013 "Threat Assessment on Italian Organised Crime" of Europol, the 'Ndrangheta is among the richest and most powerful organised crime groups at a global level.[4]

History

Origin and etymology

In 1861 the prefect of Reggio Calabria already noticed the presence of so-called camorristi, a term used at the time since there was no formal name for the phenomenon in Calabria (the Camorra was the older and better known criminal organization in Naples).[5] [6] Since the 1880s, there is ample evidence of 'Ndrangheta-type groups in police reports and sentences by local courts. At the time they were often being referred to as the picciotteria, onorata società (honoured society) or camorra and mafia.[7]

These secret societies in the areas of Calabria rich in olives and vines were distinct from the often anarchic forms of banditry and were organized hierarchically with a code of conduct that included omertà – the code of silence – according to a sentence from the court in Reggio Calabria in 1890. An 1897 sentence from the court in Palmi mentioned a written code of rules found in the village of Seminarabased on honour, secrecy, violence, solidarity (often based on blood relationships) and mutual assistance.[8]