Mugshot of 'Ndrangheta boss Giuseppe Coluccio
April 12, 1966|
Marina di Gioiosa Ionica, Italy
Giuseppe Coluccio (born April 12, 1966) is an Italian criminal and a member of the 'Ndrangheta, a Mafia-type organisation in Calabria. He was a fugitive since 2005 and included in the list of most wanted fugitives in Italy until his capture on August 7, 2008, in Toronto (Canada).
Born in 'Ndrangheta family
Coluccio was born in Marina di Gioiosa Ionica a seaside town on southern Italy's Ionian coast. He was the first of three sons born into a traditional 'Ndrangheta family. Before he reached his teens, his father was murdered in Siderno during a bloody feud that ravaged competing 'Ndrangheta clans. The clan survived and eventually rose to prominence under the leadership of Giuseppe Coluccio. The clan achieved an "unbreakable" monopoly on the sale of fish through the "power of intimidation" that was so strong the fisherman declared it a "law" that they answered to the clan, according to Italian Antimafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri in a dossier for Canadian authorities. Proceeds from the monopoly were invested in a "vast drug-trafficking operation in cocaine."
His first arrest for drug dealing and trafficking was in 1991. Since then, various investigations identified him as a key player in the import of cocaine from Colombia for a cartel of 'Ndrangheta clans in collaboration with Roberto Pannunzi, who brokered the deals in Latin America.
He was also involved in trafficking heroin from Turkey, smuggled in by fishing boats controlled by the Coluccio-Aquino 'Ndrina in Gioiosa Ionica. He is a cousin of Rocco Aquino and Giuseppe Aquino, the bosses of the Aquino 'ndrina in the town.
He has been a fugitive since 2005 when he fled charges on drug trafficking in relation to an operation by the Italian police arresting 30 people (Operation Nostromo), that also included his brother Salvatore Coluccio. Leading 'Ndrangheta bosses around Toronto were told to expect the Coluccios before they even arrived. His youngest brother, Antonio Coluccio, who is not facing charges in Italy, arrived first and settled with his Canadian wife in Richmond Hill. His brothers came soon after. Coluccio entered on the powerful Camera di controllo – the board of control for 'Ndrangheta clans, comprising six or seven Toronto-area men, who co-ordinate activities and resolves disputes among Calabrian gangsters in Southern Ontario.
He apparently also aligned himself with members of the Sicilian Mafia, in particular with Giuseppe Big Joe Cuntrera, a member of the Cuntrera-Caruana Mafia clan operating in Canada and Venezuela and involved in large scale cocaine trafficking. Police allege Coluccio continued trafficking "substantial quantities" of cocaine and hashish from South America while he was living in Canada.
Coluccio was arrested on August 7, 2008, outside a strip mall in Markham, Ontario, north of Toronto. He stayed at The Palace Pier, a luxury condominium overlooking Lake Ontario. He had been hiding in Canada for nearly three years under a false identity and is wanted for drug related offences, charges of Mafia association and extortion. He was extradited from Canada to Italy on August 19, 2008, and incarcerated under the strict Article 41-bis prison regime.
Links with Mexican cartels
His arrest was part of a larger law enforcement operation in the US, Mexico and Italy – known as Operation Solare or Project Reckoning in the US – against the Mexican Gulf Cartel that controls the movement of significant amounts of Colombian cocaine to the United States and Europe. The operation resulted in some 200 arrest in September 2008. Among those detained were sixteen members of the Aquino-Coluccio clan. They were identified and arrested in New York and Calabria.
- Calabrian mob boss arrested in Toronto, officials say, The Globe and Mail, August 8, 2008
- (Italian) 'Ndrangheta, arrestato a Toronto il boss Giuseppe Coluccio, La Repubblica, August 8, 2008
- Life of luxury on hold, National Post, August 16, 2008
- (Italian) Arrestato in Canada Giuseppe Coluccio inserito nell’elenco dei primi 30 latitanti più pericolosi, Melito online, August 8, 2008
- Mob boss arrest uncovers alleged murder plot, ADN Kronos, August 8, 2008
- (Italian) Toronto, arrestato il boss Giuseppe Coluccio, Il Giornale, August 8, 2008
- RCMP nab suspected Mafia kingpin, Canwest News Service, August 8, 2008
- Suspected mob boss extradited to Italy, Canwest News Service, August 21, 2008
- (Italian) L'arresto di Coluccio a Toronto una svolta nell'inchiesta, Le Repubblica, September 17, 2008
- 175 Alleged Gulf Cartel Members Arrested in Massive International Law Enforcement Operation, DEA Press Release, September 17, 2008
- Scores held in global drug bust, BBC News, September 17, 2008
- Narco-’Ndrangheta Drug Ring Smashed – 200 Arrests, Corriere della Sera, September 18, 2008
- (Italian) Video on the arrest of Coluccio