‘Ndrangheta and drugs, the De Marte-Gioffrè monopoly in Imperia: 26 arrests

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By John

Twenty-six people were arrested for drug trafficking by the soldiers of the provincial command of the Guardia di Finanza of Imperia, of the GICO of the Economic-Financial Police Unit of Genoa and of the Central Investigation Service on Organized Crime (SCICO) of the Guardia di Finanza, with the support of the Aeronaval Operations Department of Genoa. The investigators carried out an order for the application of the personal and real precautionary measure issued by the Judge for preliminary investigations at the Court of Genoa, at the request of the Public Prosecutor’s Office – District Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Directorate, to which a Public Prosecutor of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Imperia, where the investigation originated before being transmitted, for jurisdiction, to the judiciary of Genoa.

Of the twenty-six people investigated (including one of Cuban nationality, two of Ecuadorian nationality, four of Albanian nationality) 23 are the recipients of precautionary measures in prison and 3 of house arrest. Seventeen of the arrested suspects are accused of being members of a criminal association directed by members of the De Marte – Gioffrè family, originally from Seminara and connected to ‘Ndrangheta groups resident in Calabria, but which have taken root for years in the Diano Marina areaoperational in the province of Imperia since 2020 and aimed at the purchase, cultivation, transport, resale and transfer of cocaine, hashish and marijuana.

The organization had various homes belonging to the members of the association used for operational meetings of the members aimed at making decisions regarding the supply of narcotics, for negotiations with suppliers and buyers, to store, package and sell the narcotic for the organization of trips for the purchase of the narcotic, for the cultivation of marijuana plants. The association also made use of cryptophones for communications between members, for the delivery of money and for the collection of parcels containing the narcotic, of cars belonging to the members or specifically rented for the transport of the narcotic, which in some cases he was coming also loaded on buses operating on the Reggio Calabria/Ventimiglia route, with firearms (a gun).

The investigative activities developed by the Economic-Financial Police Unit of Imperia, through stalking and observation services, also carried out in Calabria, as well as through the interception of over 100 telephone numbers, as well as environmental and telematic conversations, have made it possible to constantly monitor the activities carried out by the criminal association and ascertain to the state that the suspect Domenico Gioffrè, despite being restricted to house arrest, together with Giovanni De Marte and other members of the De Marte family, would have managed to create a thriving drug trafficking activity in the province of Imperia, thanks to direct supplies from Piana di Gioia Tauro, making use of privileged channels adjacent to the ‘Ndrangheta.

The operational and decision-making center of the association was located in the residence of the De Marte family in Diano Castello, where, thanks to the use of cameras and bugs, it was possible to identify the members of the association, the different roles covered by them, as well as reconstruct the various phases of drug trafficking carried out.

The investigations would have established that in the Gioffrè – De Marte residence the leaders of the association took the decisions about the quantity of narcotics to be purchased, where the trips to Calabria for the supply of drugs were organized in detail, where the cocaine was cut and hidden, the drug dealers available to the association were received and supplied and defaulting customers or unfaithful drug dealers, to be threatened or beaten.

The organization was characterized by acting in ways believed to be attributable to mafia organisations, through which it asserted its control over drug trafficking in the area of ​​Diano Marina and neighboring municipalities, imposing its monopoly on drug trafficking through violence and threats – sometimes even with armed force – as well as throughevocation of the name of the De Marte-Gioffrè family (in turn close to organized crime contexts) to force buyers to pay purchases of narcotics.

One of the suspects is accused of external complicity in the association, for having facilitated the achievement of its objectives, by taking action to obtain information regarding the declarations made by a member of the association during the criminal proceedings that arose following his arrest, by contacting his mother directly and then informing the criminal group of what has been learned; to promptly report to the association the arrest of a member, a few hours after his execution, recommending avoiding communications with them; to acquire useful information on where two buyers were hiding, as well as helping the suspect Domenico Gioffrè in the search for legitimate activities to reuse the money acquired from the association’s drug trafficking activity, proposing to him the management of entertainment machines (slot machines); accompanying Giovanni De Marte to a drug dealing point in Diano Castello despite the fact that he was subject to the obligation to reside in Taggia.

The suspects are accused of 56 episodes of purchase, transfer, transport of quantities of cocaine and marijuana, as well as cultivation of marijuana. Furthermore, crimes committed against some purchasers of narcotic substances to force them to repay the debts accumulated with the purchases made are also contested: injuries, theft of means of transport, extortion (in the attempted and consummated form), threats, all aggravated by the mafia method in when a gun was used and the De marte – Gioffrè family was mentioned with reference to their links with ‘Ndrangheta families residing in Calabria; possession of a gun.

A preventive seizure for the equivalent of a total amount of 866,400 euros was also ordered against 18 suspects.proceeds from the illicit activity carried out by the criminal association, concerning 128 banking relationships, 18 vehicles and 12 motorcycles, 6 properties and 39 lands located in Diano Marina (IM), San Bartolomeo al Mare (IM), Cassano delle Murge ( BA), Trapani, Marsala (TP) and Misiliscemi (TP).

At the same time as the precautionary measure of personal and real precautionary custody, also carried out with the aid of the Economic-Financial Police Units of Varese, Reggio Emilia, Bari, Trapani and the Gioia Tauro Group, the Guardia di Finanza carried out searches delegated by the Directorate Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism District of Genoa in Imperia, Diano Castello (IM), Diano Marina (IM), Diano Arentino (IM), Santo Stefano al Mare (IM), San Bartolomeo al Mare (IM), Sanremo (IM), Taggia ( IM), Riva Ligure (IM), Castelvecchio (IM), Chiusavecchia (IM), Cislago (VA), Montecchio Emilia (RE) and in the province of Reggio Calabria. The Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Juvenile Court of Genoa has proceeded against one of the suspects arrested with reference to crimes committed when he was a minor as part of the contested criminal association.