Top fugitive Italian cocaine boss nabbed in Bogota
Colombia National Police Chief Gen. Jose Roberto Leon, right, talks during a press conference about the capture of a top fugitive Italian cocaine boss, at police headquarters in Bogota, Colombia, Saturday, July 6, 2013. Roberto Pannunzi, believed to be one of the world's most powerful drug brokers and who prosecutors allege arranged monthly shipments of tons of South American cocaine to Europe, has been captured in Bogota in a shopping mall, Gen. Leon said. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
In this photo released by Colombia's National Police, police officers flank alleged Italian drug trafficker Roberto Pannunzi at a police station in Bogota, Colombia, Saturday, July 6, 2013. The fugitive Italian organized crime boss who prosecutors allege arranged monthly shipments of tons of South American cocaine to Europe and was one of the world's most powerful drug brokers, has been captured in Bogota in a shopping mall, Italian and Colombian authorities said Saturday. (AP Photo/Colombia's National Police)
A fugitive Italian mobster, who allegedly arranged major shipments of South American cocaine to Europe each month and was one of the world’s most powerful drug brokers, has been captured in a Colombian shopping mall, authorities said yesterday.
Roberto Pannunzi ‘‘at the moment is the most important broker for cocaine trafficking from South America to Europe,” Gen. Andrea De Gennaro, an Italian anti-drug customs police official, was quoted as saying by the Italian news agency ANSA.
De Gennaro described Pannunzi as being able to ‘‘move thousands of kilos of cocaine – out of every 10 shipments, eight passed through” Pannunzi’s hands, De Gennaro said, as Italian law enforcement officials and prosecutors rejoiced over his capture.
Italian news reports said the fugitive, who fled while under arrest in a private Rome clinic in 2010, was captured Thursday.
The Colombian police said Pannunzi had a false Venezuelan ID when nabbed earlier in the week and alleged that he imported two tons of cocaine every month from Colombia to Europe.
Italian anti-Mafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri told reporters that Colombia had agreed to deport Pannunzi, and the convicted drug dealer’s arrival aboard a flight to Rome was scheduled for last night.
Pannunzi, 67, had fled twice from arrest in Italy.