Saturday, May 22, 2021

Unorganized Crime: "Mob Mussel and the Rogue Priest"

From the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, May 21:

Bosnia’s fraudulent, multipurpose holy man, Neapolitan gangsters muscling in on the mollusc business, and the drug dealers dressing up as key workers to dodge lockdown restrictions -- oddities from the past few days, from us at OCCRP’s Daily News team. 

Based in and around the city of Naples, the Camorra have many strings to their bow: drug trafficking, racketeering, prostitution, high-profile corruption, counterfeiting, money laundering, and now... shellfish.

Earlier this year, police in Italy’s Campania region announced the arrest of at least a dozen individuals with ties to the criminal syndicate. Not for your run-of-the-mill mafioso dealings, but for illegally harvesting date mussels along the Amalfi coast and around the island of Capri.

According to a recent report by the Guardian, these small molluscs are considered a local delicacy, even an aphrodisiac. Their sale is outlawed in the EU owing to the destruction wrought by harvesting practices: it can apparently take underwater ecosystems more than 50 years to recover from the damage.

As a result, a single kilogram of the prized shellfish can fetch up to 200 euros (US$245) on the thriving local black market. Their rarity and high price has clearly piqued the interest of the region’s most notorious criminal operators, who are allegedly purchasing the molluscs from poachers to serve as a symbol of status at gatherings and celebrations, especially Christmas.

Meanwhile in the U.K., prosecutors on Monday announced the conviction of several members of an organized crime group who had posed as essential workers in order to deal drugs during the recent lockdown....


Eh, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, right? 

One man's drug dealer is.... well, a drug dealer.