Thursday, 30 April 2009

Giuseppe D’Amico owned a number of bars in Almería province,was found dead at his home in Pechina

National Police operation against a money laundering network linked to alternative nightclubs in Almería province last week has discovered evidence which could prove key in an unsolved murder from September 2006: the death of Italian businessman Giusseppe D’Amico, who was found dead at his home in Pechina. The victim was found tied up with two bullet wounds in his body and had been tortured.Detectives in the money laundering investigation discovered two 9-calibre pistols in one of the property searches which took place, and forensic testing has revealed that one of them was the weapon which was used to kill D’Amico. Both weapons were found in the home of the man believed to the head of the money laundering network, nicknamed José El Francés, in the filters of a Jacuzzi he had installed in a secret room in the house.Giuseppe D’Amico owned a number of bars in Almería province, but had a lengthy criminal record, both in Spain and in Italy. Police suspected that he had led an organised criminal operation in Almería since his arrival there in the 1980s.

El Encinar Urbanisation work has started to demolish homes which were constructed illegally on the coast of Cantabria.

Work has started to demolish homes which were constructed illegally on the coast of Cantabria.The first court sentences ordering demolition were issued as long as 15 years ago, declared to be illegal under the ley de costas (coastal law), but it was on Wednesday when the bulldozers finally moved in at two different locations.The most important one is the El Encinar Urbanisation on the beach at La Arena de Arnuero, where 144 homes were built on protected rural woodland, 42 of which are now coming down, all of them corresponding to the second phase of the urbanization.Some twenty owners and locals protested as the bulldozers moved in, carrying placards which read ‘144 families, victims of the construction mafia’.

Jumped from a first floor balcony to escape being raped by two friends

Young woman is recovering in hospital in Málaga after jumping from a first floor balcony to escape being raped by two friends who were with her in the flat above. It happened in Rincón de la Victoria on Wednesday, where police found her half-naked, sitting on a chair in the street, EFE reports.She told officers that they had all been partying the night before, and that she had jumped from the flat when the two men tried to have sex with her against her will.The two men, reported by police as Italian, now face charges from the courts.

Police in Spain have broken up a drug-trafficking network which used pensioners to smuggle cocaine into the country on board cruise liners

Police in Spain have broken up a drug-trafficking network which used pensioners to smuggle cocaine into the country on board luxury trans-Atlantic cruise liners. The network used women posing as tourists who picked up the drugs in South America, hiding them in their suitcases to hand over them to another network member once the ships docked in Spain.27 kilos of cocaine were found in a cabin on board a trans-Atlantic cruise ship when it docked in port in Cádiz, the Interior Ministry says in a press release. It’s thought the drugs were picked up when the ship docked in Brazil. The cocaine was destined for Cataluña and Ibiza, the Ministry said, while cannabis destined for distribution in Europe, mainly Holland, was also smuggled in to Spain by the network.Nine arrests were made in total, including one of the suspected leaders who was arrested in Lepe, Huelva, while attempting to cross over into Portugal and then escape by plane to Brazil.Police also raided two hydroponic marijuana farms in Barcelona where more than 200 plants were found. That part of the network was led by a man from Holland, police say.

Lincoln Park ring leader Darnell Bell $9 million deposit

ring leader was street gang member Darnell Bell, from the Lincoln Park gang. Previously in jail for cocaine distribution, this may be a sign that gangs are branching into more sophisticated crimes. Over $9 million was deposited into an account controlled by Bell. This complex scheme resulted in charges to 24 co-conspirators for bank and wire fraud, money laundering and corrupt racketeering activity. They had participants from real estate, title insurance, appraisal and notary public. The field of players and game play worked as follows:Player 1: Located properties that had been on the market for an extended period of time with reduced asking prices. They negotiated an inflated purchase price and submitted false loan applications to support loans that otherwise would never have been approved. In most cases they were for 100% of the purchase price and did not require any capital investment. They included false letters and documents for income and reference verification. Players requested extra funds for property improvements to make the homes handicap accessible. Payout of these funds was requested upon closing to Bell Construction, a bogus construction firm.
Player 2: Buyers agreed to provide their names and credit histories to be used in the mortgage applications. Properties were purchased, however, in the name of the racketeering enterprise. Bell used his gang status to intimidate and recruit players for this role.
Player 3: Real estate appraisers who prepared inflated appraisals to give lenders the impression that the loans would be secured by the value of the properties. Player 4: A licensed real estate broker allowed the enterprise to use his broker’s license to initiate the property purchase. In exchange this person received a monthly payment of $10,000 and a percentage of the real estate commission and broker’s fees.Player 5: An escrow officer and notary republic to assist in closing of fraudulent properties.
Player 6: Certified Public Accountant and registered tax preparers.
Once the properties were closed and funds were paid out for repairs, mortgage payments were never made and the homes fell into foreclosure, creating large financial losses for the lenders. Lenders filed reports of suspicious activity, and upon investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service, it was discovered that none of the properties had any improvements done to them. The maximum penalties faced by those involved include 20 years in jail, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release. FBI Special Agent Keith Slotter commented,”The individuals charged in this indictment have one thing in common: greed. They represent precisely those who have undermined our country’s financial system by perpetuating such egregious schemes. The FBI and our law enforcement partners remain vigilant and will pursue those who engage in this type of criminal activity. The extent to which this group of people went to defraud lenders should also serve as a warning to the public. We urge people to come forward with information of suspicious activities they may encounter when engaged in real estate and mortgage transactions.”

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Major strike against the Quebec Hells Angels

"We will also seize five bunkers of the Hells Angels," Guerin said in a phone interview from Laval, Que. "We will seize the Montreal chapter ... we will have also the south chapter that is in Longueuil, we will also have the Sherbrooke bunker, the Trois-Rivières bunker and the Quebec City bunker, too."
Arrested 156 people as part of a major strike against the Quebec Hells Angels, with more than 1,200 officers taking part in a series of pre-dawn raids on properties across the province. The Sureté du Québec says the Project SharQc raids have targeted suspects who have allegedly been involved in crimes -- including various drug and gangsterism offenses, as well as various murders -- that took place between 1992 and 2009. Police say they have linked the alleged crimes to five Hells Angels chapters in Quebec. The raids, led by SQ officers, are designed to put the provincial Hells Angels out of business -- at least for the time being. The majority of arrests have occurred in Quebec, though five male suspects -- all in their 40s and 50s -- were nabbed in St. Leonard, N.B. One person was arrested in France and four others in the Dominican Republic.
Laval police spokesperson Daniel Guerin told CTV Newsnet that in addition to the arrests on Wednesday, officers had also executed 177 warrants and seized selected properties in Quebec.
RCMP Sgt. Claude Tremblay said the suspects who were arrested in New Brunswick would be flown to Montreal on Wednesday. Unspecified guns and drugs were seized from the New Brunswick suspects, whom police allege are involved in bringing drugs from the United States and into Canada. "New Brunswick is the corridor to the Maritimes and everything comes through our highways and we have a lot of small airports through the region," Tremblay said. "There's a lot of trafficking going on. It's mostly related to underground crime and a lot of it is run by the Hells Angels." Guerin said the raids were part of a three-year investigation into the Quebec Hells Angels, which involved prosecutors and 200 police officers. Police arrested both active and "retired" Hells Angels on Wednesday, Guerin said, because of their alleged involvement in 22 murders, drug trafficking, conspiracy and gangsterism offenses. Investigative reporter Julian Sher, who has co-authored two books about the Hells Angels, called the Wednesday morning raids a "huge" accomplishment for police.
"It has to be a devastating impact to the Hells Angels, regardless of how it turns out in the courts," he told in a phone interview on Wednesday morning.

"Just the fact that the police can pull this off again sends a message." The scope of Wednesday's raids indicates that the police used intelligence to undertake them, he said. "The police are getting smarter and better," said Sher. "They are using the only tool that is effective against organized crime and that's infiltration and intelligence, and they've learned that lesson."
James Dubro, an organized crime expert and journalist, said the larger worldwide Hells Angels will take steps to maintain the group's influence in Quebec. "The Hells Angels controls all the biker groups in this country. They will come to the aid of their brothers," he told CTV Newsnet on Wednesday. The SQ will hold a press conference about Project SharQc in Montreal on Thursday morning. Sher said the Hells Angels currently have 400-450 members scattered across Canada. Last month, police arrested 10 people in "Operation Baladeur" -- a series of raids that saw 11 people arrested in connection with alleged criminal offenses that relate to Quebec's notorious biker war of the 1990s. In February, "Operation Axe," a raid involving 700 police officers, targeted suspected biker and street gang members in Ontario and Quebec. Forty-seven people were arrested, some of whom police alleged were Hells Angels members. According to its official website, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club first formed in the United States in 1948. Since then, the Hells Angels have formed chapters around the world including in Canada, Australia, South Africa, as well as in South America and Europe. The Hells Angels are believed to have been in Quebec since the late 1970s.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Central American and Caribbean street gang members are being recruited by Mexican cartels in order to represent their interests in Europe

Central American and Caribbean street gang members are being recruited by Mexican cartels in order to represent their interests in Europe, with the cities of Barcelona and Madrid, in Spain, and Oslo, Norway, being singled out. Those recruited, the UN research says, are working to expand their Mexican patrons' drug businesses and sales in European cities.José Manuel Martínez, the INCB representative for Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, was quoted on the subject in the Guatemalan newspaper El Periódico last December. "Certainly the Sinaloa, Gulf, and Tijuana cartels are training young mareros (street gang members) and gang members. With them, they seek to spread to Europe and this shows that the time when the Maras were a Central American problem has now ended."
Italian law enforcement officials, based on investigations by the Carabiniere and information shared by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), confirmed in late 2008 that Mexico's Los Zetas have strengthened ties with Mafioso organizations in Italy, in particular with the ‘Ndrangheta. These Italian mobsters are home based in the Reggio Calabria area of southern Italy.
Since early last year the Carabiniere has been intercepting calls from people in the United States who are part of this transatlantic network that sends drugs from Mexico to Europe, according to a piece from the Mexican News service Apro (12/28/08).In February of this year, Apro editors reported that Nicola Gratteri, the city attorney of Reggio Calabria, said that the 'Ndrangheta mafia and Mexico's Gulf Cartel leaders communicate via Blackberries and SMS messaging. Gratteri refused to give additional details, telling the reporter he didn't want "to give the mafia suggestions."Antonio Nicaso, an expert on crime who has coauthored a new book on the Calabria mafia with Gratteri ("Blood Brothers"), added that the Mexican cartel and Italian mafia alliance is absolutely key. This because the 'Ndrangheta control all of the main seaports in Europe that are ports of entry for drugs, most of these being located in Spain and Holland, the Apro article said.Last August, in Toronto, Canada, a 42 year old 'Ndrangheta member named Guiseppe Collucio was arrested, and Italian authorities recognized him as one of those in charge of sending cocaine to Italy by way of South America, Apro reported. Collucio belongs to one of the 'Ndrangheta families that settled in Canada, and it was from there that he was in contact with Colombian drug lords in order to buy cocaine that was then shipped to Europe.
Following Collucio's arrest, his Italian clients became uneasy and they decided to change contacts. And 'Ndrangheta leaders in Italy put them in communication with Mexico's Gulf Cartel, according to Piero Grasso, Italy's Director of Public Prosecutions for Mafia Crimes."In Rome, Public Prosecutor Grasso declared: 'The novelty in this international operation is the narco starting point role that Mexico has assumed, replacing Colombia and becoming the major drug distributor in the world,'" the Apro piece concluded.

export of stolen luxury vehicles from Britain to Tanzania.

UK’s anti-fraud watchdog has joined investigations into a car theft ring involving the export of stolen luxury vehicles from Britain to Tanzania. According to British police sources, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating the international aspect of the syndicate. The SFO is a UK government department and is part of the British criminal justice system. Investigators from the watchdog agency are usually called in to probe only ’’serious and complex fraud.’’ Experts say the involvement of Britain’s anti-fraud investigators in the case proves the seriousness of the crimes committed by the gang of car thieves. ’’The key criterion we use when deciding whether to accept a case is that the suspected fraud appears to be so serious or complex that its investigation should be carried out by those responsible for its prosecution,’’ says the SFO in its website. ’’The SFO could not - and does not - take on every referred case of suspected fraud. SFO resources must be focussed on major and complicated fraud.’’ The SFO says factors considered when accepting to investigate a case include the fact that the value of the alleged fraud exceeds �1 million (approx. 2bn/-). In Tanzania, the SFO has notably been involved in investigations into the $41m military radar scandal. British authorities are trying to recover an estimated �1.5 million (approx. 3bn/-) in the international scam involving the theft of luxury vehicles in the UK, and their subsequent exportation for sale in Tanzania and neighbouring Kenya. A Tanzanian national identified as Mponjoli Malakasuka (36) was convicted in the UK last year of charges connected to the suspected car theft racket, and sentenced to three and a half years in prison. The fraud involving Malakasuka saw dozens of prestige cars such as Aston Martins, Range Rovers and BMWs stolen from wealthy areas in the Midlands, UK, and then exported in sealed shipping containers to Tanzania. Malakasuka was arrested in 2007 when police ran a check on his Mercedes and found it was stolen. The Tanzanian and his associates had rented prestige high-value cars which were then reported stolen to the insurance company. The gang also swiped luxury cars from driveways by fishing car keys through letterboxes across the West Midlands, Staffordshire, the north and London. At least twice Malakasuka paid for two Range Rover Sports cars and then reported them stolen to claim on the insurance. Financial investigators from the UK’s Economic Crime Team recovered five cars in a 10-day spell in 2007, but many more were thought to have been smuggled abroad through Felixstowe or Southampton docks hidden in containers. The racket was busted when an eagle-eyed manager with a car hire company noticed that many of the cars reported stolen had been hired using the same credit card. He alerted police and, using a tracking device, they waited for a match to come up. When it did, and one of the supposedly stolen vehicles was reported driving along West Bromwich High Street, police raced to the scene and caught Malakasuka at the wheel. A UK financial investigator, acting Detective Sergeant Chris Harris, said: ’’It’s incredible to think a global investigation could come from such a small piece of information.’’ He added: ’’But the rental firm smelled a rat, let us know and when we got the shout we arrested him (Malakasuka). Then the inquiry just ran and ran.’’ The Tanzanian national eventually pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal at Wolverhampton Crown Court. He was the only person convicted for the car ringing racket, but police believe he worked as part of a gang. Det Sgt Harris added: ’’What started as an inquiry into a rented car that had not been returned spiralled into an investigation into a global fraud. Much of the international element of it has now been passed to the Serious Fraud Office, but we’re proud to say we played our part.’’ A spokesman for the Serious Fraud Office said they did not wish to comment on the investigation.

Police officer Vladimir Grandic from Novi Sad died on the morning of April 12 as a results of injuries

Police officer Vladimir Grandic from Novi Sad died on the morning of April 12 as a results of injuries incurred in a conflict with burglars on the highway near Novi Sad, the Vojvodina Clinical Center confirmed for BETA. The police officer suffered serious injuries to the arm, chest and abdomen, and was operated on after the shootout. The police were able to arrest all four of the robbers, and it is suspected that 19 year-old Danijel Tomic fired at the police officers. The conflict occurred when police tried to stop the car of the four robbers, who burglarized a jewelery store in Zrenjanin. The suspects fired at police, wounding Grandic, after which police fired back. The commemoration for the fallen officer Vladimir Grandic (31) will be held on April 13 in Novi Sad, Novi Sad Police Chief Miladin Kostrasevic said. The commemoration will begin at 1pm, and Grandic will be buried at 5pm at the New Cemetery in Novi Sad. The parliamentary commemoration will be attended by Interior Minister Ivica Dacic. He will also attend the funeral.

Four robbers with Kalashnikov assault rifles raided a branch of the Carrefour Marinopoulos supermarket chain

Four robbers with Kalashnikov assault rifles raided a branch of the Carrefour Marinopoulos supermarket chain in the central Athens district of Kolonos on Saturday night, fleeing with an undetermined sum but causing no injuries. As they fled the scene, the perpetrators were spotted by a police patrol car. In the ensuing chase the robbers shot at the officers who fired back, but there were no reports of any injuries. The robbers eluded arrest. At around the same time, robbers targeted supermarkets in the districts of Halandri and Nea Ionia.

Timothy Rutherford British expat was sentenced to life in jail

Timothy Rutherford British expat was sentenced to life in jail Sunday by Kuwait's criminal court after he was caught smuggling hashish and alcohol into the oil-rich emirate from neighboring Iraq in the latest case of drug trafficking that suggests a surge in abuse of illicit stimulants in the Arab world at large.Timothy Rutherford who worked as a civil contractor with British forces in southern Iraq was arrested last September while crossing into Kuwait with 49 kilos (108 pounds) of hashish, liquor and cash.
As a trade free zone Dubai is perhaps the busiest drug gateway in the GulfAlthough Sunday's verdict is not final and can be appealed, it is standard in a country where penalties for possession, use, or trafficking illegal drugs in Kuwait are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.In February 2009 three Americans were caught allegedly peddling marijuana in Kuwait City's downtown after using the military postal service to smuggle marijuana into the country.Three major drug raids in Dubai recently – all involving foreigners -- yielded a haul of 651,000 Captagon pills at the airport, and several kilograms of heroin intercepted by police and customs officers.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Roy Collins was murdered at the CoinCastle Amusement arcade in what is believed to be a revenge attack against his family

12 Limerick criminals could be tried before the non-jury Special Criminal Court.Gardai are to request that the Director of Public Prosecutions direct cases involving Limerick criminals to the SCC in order to avoid the intimidation of jurors, and their possible murder years down the line.The news comes just days after Roy Collins was murdered at the CoinCastle Amusement arcade in what is believed to be a revenge attack against his family by members of the McCarthy-Dundon gang. It is believed that Mr. Collins was killed in retaliation for the fact that a relative of his gave evidence in a case against Wayne Dundon. Dundon received a ten year sentence after he was convicted of threatening barman Ryan Lee at Brannigans Bar. His sentence was later reduced to seven years.
Lee was shot and injured within hours of the threat being made, however, no one has been convicted of the shooting.Brannigans bar was later burned to the ground, again, no one was convicted of this.
Gardai are now said to have their sights set on twelve local criminals, who they believe, if put behind bars, will result in a dramatic reduction of organised crime in the Munster region.

Briton, who has not been named, was rounded up by the Civil Guard with seven Spaniards, two Moroccans, a Belgian, a Colombian and an Argentinian

Briton, who has not been named, was rounded up by the Civil Guard with seven Spaniards, two Moroccans, a Belgian, a Colombian and an Argentinian after a tip-off.police on the Costa del Sol smashed a gang of alleged armed robbers who terrorised wealthy home owners.
The force, which seized 10 guns and ammo, said the arrests had prevented the planned murder of a member of a rival gang.Civil Guard chief Jose Espinosa said victims were tied-up and threatened at gunpoint until they disclosed pin numbers or safe combinations.
Thieves switched a Portsmouth couple's £27k caravan with a mosscovered wreck at a site near Lloret de Mar, Spain.


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