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The Gambino crime family took a hit recently when seven associates of the Mafia affiliate were arrested in New York City on suspicion of drug-trafficking.

A joint effort between Italian and American law enforcement targeted a trans-Atlantic cocaine smuggling route from South America to a port in southern Italy. The drug-smuggling operation reportedly involved both the Sicilian Mafia in America as well as Calabria's 'Ndrangheta. The latter is considered by Italian law enforcement to be one of the world's most dangerous and powerful crime syndicates.

The drug-trafficking operation run by the two gangs was dubbed "New Bridge." The gangs were infiltrated by an undercover agent who managed to become friendly with one of the New York City suspects. United States Magistrate William Nardini acknowledged the cooperation between the two countries, saying that there was no other country with such strong cooperative ties to U.S. law enforcement as Italy has.

Across the Atlantic, 17 Italian suspects also face charges in the international conspiracy. Members of 'Ndrangheta control the region surrounding Calabria in the southern portion of Italy to the point where it is believed that in some towns, every adult male is suspected of criminal ties to the group. Their strength gives them control over a major portion of European cocaine smuggling.

Court documents filed in a New York federal court indicate recorded conversations between one Brooklyn resident targeted in the massive bust and other defendants discussing shipping 500 kilos of cocaine smuggled in with pineapples and frozen fish to Calabria from Guyana.

Anyone targeted in an international drug sting faces a lengthy prison sentence if convicted and should certainly seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help protect their legal rights and represent their case in court.

Source: NBC New York, "7 Suspects from New York City Arrested in US-Italy Mafia Drug Bust" No author given, Feb. 11, 2014

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