Mafia used capsized cruise ship to ‘smuggle drugs’

Written By kom nampuldu on Selasa, 31 Maret 2015 | 20.49

Doomed cruise ship Costa Concordia was used by the mafia to smuggle cocaine, police investigators say.

Italy's most feared crime syndicate, the Ndrangheta, hid drugs on board the cruise ship which partially capsized in January 2012, according to The Independent. "The same ship that made us a laughing stock around the world, took the piss out of us too," Ndrangheta boss Michele Rossi was reportedly heard saying to an associate Massimo Tiralongo, according to police.

Phone and tape recordings of the gangsters from Calabria suggest the drugs were on board but authorities have not confirmed drugs have been found on the Concordia. Investigators believe drugs were stowed without the knowledge of senior officers or senior company officials, but probably with the cooperation of one or more crew members.

The cocaine was being smuggled into Europe from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Drugs may also have been placed on ships owned by MSC and Norwegian Cruise Lines, according to a separate report in La Repubblica.

According to The Times, 20 people have been arrested following the revelations.

Drug smuggling on cruise ships has reportedly become big business with some suggesting more than 43kg of cocaine was seized from crew members this year.

This month, five galley staff with Norwegian Cruise Lines were arrested after smuggling 5kg of cocaine in their Lycra underwear. While two Royal Caribbean crew members were arrested in Argentina with more than $1 million taped to their bodies.

British police have warned cruise companies to look out for young people travelling on cruises aimed at pensioners.

The Concordia partially capsized after the captain performed a risky manoeuvre and it crashed into rocks near the Italian island of Giglio. The accident led to the deaths of 32 people and the captain was jailed for 16 years for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning a ship before his passengers.

The ship is being broken up for scrap after being towed last year to the port of Genoa.

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