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Italy remains a significant European transit and consumer point for illegal drugs. Southwest Asian heroin arrives from transit routes in the Middle East and the Balkans, while cocaine enters Italy directly from South America or through the Iberian Peninsula en route to the rest of Europe. In addition to heroin and cocaine, synthetic drugs, hashish, and marijuana are also illicit drugs of domestic concern. Almost all cocaine found in Italy originates from Colombia and is managed in Italy by criminal organizations based in Calabria and Campania. Drug trafficking organizations in the Americas use Italy as a transit and consolidation point for the repatriation of drug proceeds via bulk currency shipments back to Colombia and Mexico and for wire transfers throughout the world.

In 2011 (the most recent year for which information is available), Italian authorities seized 6.35 metric tons (MT) of cocaine; 811 kilograms (kg) of heroin; 20.3 MT of hashish; 10.9 MT of marijuana; and 16,573 doses of synthetic drugs. The largest drug seizures during this period were: 1.02 MT of cocaine in Livorno; 131 kg of heroin in Verona; 2.63 MT of hashish in Rome; 754 kg of marijuana in Bari; and 10,000 tablets of ecstasy in Como. Also during this period, 39,796 individuals were arrested in Italy on drug-related charges.

In 2011, the Italian Carabinieri (national military police), with cooperation from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), concluded a three year multilateral investigation of a drug trafficking cell of the 'Ndrangheta transnational criminal organization. Two of Italy's most-wanted fugitives were apprehended as well as 61 other defendants in New York and Italy, with additional arrests in Holland, Spain, and elsewhere in the United States. Approximately 850 kg of cocaine, numerous firearms, and nearly $20,700,000 in assets were seized. In another important case also involving DEA cooperation, the Italian Guardia di Finanza (GdF) and Carabinieri dismantled a significant 'Ndrangheta group in Catanzaro, Calabria, seizing approximately 56 kg of cocaine, more than $98,275,269 in assets, and arresting 77 individuals.

The United States and Italy enjoy outstanding counternarcotics cooperation, sharing intelligence and coordinating joint criminal investigations on a daily basis. Italy's law enforcement community promotes investigative cooperation and intelligence-sharing initiatives with the United States and other international counterparts.
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Title Annotation:Country Reports
Publication:International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Mar 1, 2013
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