By IRENE SAVIO
Since the Italian police located Tomás Yarrington's house in Calabria, a region dominated by the Ndrangheta, a doubt has arisen that has not yet been resolved: What is the relationship between the former governor of Tamaulipas and the most powerful and dangerous Italian mafia?
The question led to an investigation that began after Yarrington's arrest on 9 April and continues in the midst of a great deal of secrecy by the Italian authorities, involving several Italian police forces as well as The Prosecutor's Office of Paola, the small Calabrian coastal town in which Yarrington lived.
It has even been considered the possibility that the case passes into the hands of Nicola Gratteri, one of the most knowledgeable of the relationship between the Mexican cartels and the Italian mafias.
Gratteri is the head of the Public Prosecutor's Office in Catanzaro, where the National Anti-Mafia Directorate (DNA) is located, and the tax expert was displaced about a year ago to intensify the fight against organized crime Calabrian.
For his part, the analyst Antonio Nicaso is clear. "It is difficult to think that a Mexican exgo governor, fugitive from justice, ends up living in a remote town of Calabria and that is a coincidence. If such a person comes to Calabria it is because he has someone who protects him, "says Nicaso, a university professor who has published several books on the phenomenon of organized crime, several of them co-authored with prosecutor Gratteri.
"If (Yarrington) ended up in Calabria, it was for a reason. I exclude that there is no link, "insists Nicaso.
"The investigations are ongoing and that is why we must remain cautious. However, it is unthinkable that the Ndrangheta did not know of the presence of such a person in its territory, that it has not been informed and at least authorized that presence in its territory ", coincides another anti-mafia prosecutor of the headquarters of the DNA specialized in the Ndrangheta, who spoke with Process on condition of anonymity, for security reasons.
This prosecutor explains that in the Paola area, where the Ndrangheta has a solid control, the Serpa family operates, while in the nearby town of Cetraro there is a clan of even higher profile within the hierarchical pyramid of the criminal group Italian: the Muto. The latter also have businesses in the international traffic of narcotics, according to Italian prosecutors.
No researcher knows precisely when the Ndrangheta began buying cocaine and other narcotic drugs from Mexican cartels and then reselling them in Europe. The Italian police have only established that these are recent alliances.
It was, in fact, the Gulf Cartel, one of the first to establish contact with the Ndrangheta, in particular with the Calabrian family of Coluccio and Aquino, based in New York, as well as with the Schirripa family in Calabria.
This was revealed by Operation Solare 1-Reckoning, carried out by the Department of Special Operations and several Italian prosecutor's offices, in collaboration with the US DEA, ICE and FBI, and which was known in September 2008 when, according to file 12 -435-S1 of the South Texas Court-Brownsville Division, Yarrington was still connected to the same cartel.
"Vincenzo and Giulio Schirripa had contact with Chris Castellano of the Gulf Cartel, while in Calabria the father and mother of the Schirripa delivered cocaine to representatives of the Ierinò, Coluccio-Aquino and Longo-Versace clans, Wrote Nicaso in White Gold, one of his most recent books.
As a result of the Solare 1-Reckoning operation, members of the Schirripa family and two intermediaries of the Gulf cartel, Chris Castellano and Ignacio Díaz, ended up in jail.
However, the Italo-Mexican criminal connection was not interrupted. On the contrary: in July 2011 the police operation Solare 2 found that the relationship between the Ndrangheta and the Mexican cartels had been rooted thanks to Vincenzo Roccisano, an uncle of Giulio Schirripa who had taken the revelation after the arrest of his relative, as Also documented in a 2014 report the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA).
According to the Washington-based COHA, Roccisano had sought new contacts after assuming the role of business manager with Latin America.
At that time, a recording in the Italian judicial offices began circulating as a result of a telephone interception to Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, in which the Mexican narco professes his admiration for the Ndrangheta. "They are more reliable, they are like us," he said.
"This reveals not only collaboration, but also a desire for imitation and osmosis," says sociologist Antonio la Spina, professor at Luiss University in Rome.
The proof of this new relationship came soon. In March 2012 police seized 260 kilos of cocaine hidden in boats from Mazatlan, which had arrived in Gioia Tauro, the main port of Calabria and one of the most important in Europe.
According to La Spina, the Ndrangheta's treatment of Mexican drug traffickers is of interest, but also cautious: "So far, the scenario that emerges from police investigations shows that the Ndrangheta has sought and found different partners in Mexico, negotiating once and for all Instead, adapting to the changing circumstances and not maintaining exclusive alliances with any group.
"One reason is that the Ndrangheta believes that violence is not good for business and therefore should be used little, and this contrasts with the actions of many Mexican criminal groups, which have been responsible for atrocious blood crimes."
However, there is at least one more aspect that troubles the observers: there is no precedent for the escape of Yarrington to Calabria.
"This is the first time that an international fugitive of this importance is hiding in this region," explains the anti-Mafia prosecutor. "It had never happened before."
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