Sicily – Investigations into one of Europe’s most powerful drug syndicate and mafia grouping has led to intelligence officials tying at least two export companies in Guyana to the feared Ndranghet Mafia out of Sicily, who is believed to have control over 80% of the cocaine that is shipped to Europe, while pocketing an average of US$3.5 billion per week, (a figure that can clear off Guyana’s national debt or that can literally run the entire country for two to three years, based upon current budget numbers).
The entire network is said to be making some US$60 Billion per year, more than enough money to help them to economically take over an entire country like Guyana within a matter of days, or acquire new technology to stay ahead of the various agencies that are pursuing them.
But investigators say that the Italian mafias are not interested in running Guyana or its economy. What they are interested in is ensuring that the two front companies in Guyana (one of which exports timber) pays its taxes and keep a clean slate on the local scene, while ensuring that containers of transshipped cocaine from Colombia can be loaded on to ships on Guyana’s wharves undetected and shipped out to Europe.
One of the Guyana-based companies is said to be fully owned by the Sicily-based Mafia who uses third parties to operate them locally, while the other company (name withheld) is a well established Guyanese company in which the mafias has major shares, possibly unknowing to other shareholders.
These revelations have come to light following the arrest of over 90 people across several countries last week, and the subsequent arrest of Settimino Mineo, who has been identified as the new head of the Ndranghe mafia.
However, their investment numbers in Guyana is largely unknown. But it is believed that they have been laundering hundreds of millions of dollars through the local banking system, using a number of front companies.
According to a CNN news report over the weekend (see HERE), the Ndrangheta Mafia has long been under the US radar, as was evident in a 2008 Wikileaks cable which had stated that the crime syndicate “maintain bank accounts in Monte Carlo and Milan and transplanting operatives to Colombia, Spain, Germany, the Balkans, Canada and Australia.”
Guyana is largely a transhipment point for cocaine and a payout location where the front companies ensure that all cocaine shippers from Colombia and Venezuela are paid in Guyana under the radar or for seemingly legitimate services.
The same CNN report and several others over the weekend have also mentioned the mafias connection to drug smuggling from Guyana, while indicating that they have a small list of front companies operating in and outside of Georgetown.
Describing the Italian Mafias as having a sprawling empire that stretches across almost every continent, and every major trading market around the world, the mafias investments in Guyana is considered to be crucial to its South American transhipment network, but small enough to avoid the attention of Guyanese drug enforcement officials.
Nonetheless, it remains unclear as to whether Italian intelligence would formally hand over the information to Guyanese authorities or whether they will pocket it away in their court case files, as had been the case in the past.