Mug shot of Salvatore Miceli in 1993
April 12, 1946 |
Salvatore Miceli (born April 12, 1946, in Salemi) is a member of the Sicilian Mafia. He was on the "Most wanted list" of the Italian Ministry of the Interior from 2001 until his arrest in Venezuela in June 2009. Some Mafia turncoats (pentiti) referred to Miceli as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, due to his frequent trips abroad. Others called him "the chicken that lays golden eggs", referring to his lucrative drug business.
Miceli was born in Salemi, Italy, in the province of Trapani. He was the grandson of the notorious heroin trafficker Salvatore Zizzo. Together with Roberto Pannunzi, he is considered to be the intermediary between the Mafia and the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta clans with Colombian cocaine cartels. The two had met when they were living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in the 1960s an 1970s. The became close friends and Pannunzi became the godfather of Miceli's first born. The relation between the Calabrian and the Sicilian mafioso also was very useful for drug trafficking.
Both were involved in a cocaine trafficking network with Mariano Agate, the Mafia boss of Mazara del Vallo and Calabrian clans of Marando, Trimboli and Barbaro from Platì. When one of the cocaine transports to Greece went wrong, Miceli was taken hostage by the Colombian suppliers. He was moved towards a hacienda in the Colombian jungle and only to be released when the damage of losing 900 kilogrammes of cocaine, some 22.5 million US dollars, would be repaid . He was only released when Pannunzi guaranteed the money through his Calabrian contacts.
The entire ring was dismantled in May 2003 – but Miceli remained at large. His wife Veronica Dudzinski and his sons Ivano and Mario Miceli were arrested in May 2003, when the cocaine trafficking network was disrupted.
In the beginning of the 1990s, after a failed cocaine transport, Mafia boss Giovanni Brusca also had condemned Miceli to death. However, he was saved thanks to the intervention of Vincenzo Sinacori and Matteo Messina Denaro – the boss of Castelvetrano – who made clear that Miceli belonged to the Mafia in the province of Trapani, and that the "palermitani" could not act against him without the permission of the Mafia bosses of Trapani.
On June 20, 2009, Salvatore Miceli was arrested by police in Caracas, Venezuela. The arrest was made after a joint operation between Italian and Venezuelan authorities and Interpol agents. He was apprehended as he left his house on Sunday, along with two other unnamed Italian suspects. Miceli, who had been on the run from authorities since 2001, had been under police surveillance for three days prior to his arrest. The former head of Italy's Antimafia parliamentary commission, Giuseppe Lumia, suggested that Miceli's arrest would be a major blow to the Sicilian Mafia and their trans-Atlantic drug trafficking operations.
Venezuela extradited Miceli to Italy on June 30, 2009, to serve his prison term. He was convicted for drug trafficking and Mafia conspiracy in 2001. Since then he again has been charged for cocaine trafficking between Colombia, Sicily and Calabria.
- (Italian) Salvatore Miceli, 'il ministro degli Esteri' di Cosa Nostra, La Repubblica, June 21, 2009
- (Italian) Relazione conclusiva, Commissione parlamentare d’inchiesta sul fenomeno della criminalità organizzata mafiosa o similare, January 2006
- Forgione, Mafia export, p. 51-58
- (Italian) Italia. Uno degli affari di Cosa Nostra e 'Ndrangheta insieme, ADUC droghe, May 30, 2003
- (Italian) La joint venture della droga, Antimafia Duemila, N° 33 Luglio-Agosto 2003
- (Italian) Dalla cella dava ordini al figlio laureato, Il Messaggero, June 1, 2003
- 'Mafia man' arrested in Venezuela, BBC News, June 21, 2009
- Italian mafia boss arrested in Venezuela, Reuters, June 21, 2009
- Top Italian Mafia fugitive arrested in Caracas, The Associated Press, June 21, 2009
- (Italian) Mafia, arrestato in Venezuela: Il boss Salvatore Miceli, La Repubblica, June 21, 2009
- (Italian) Il Venezuela estrada il boss Miceli, La Repubblica, June 30, 2009
- (Italian) Cosa Nostra e i narcos: la storia di Salvatore Miceli, il boss del narcotraffico, Antmafia Duemila, June 22, 2009
- Forgione, Francesco (2009). Mafia export: Come ’Ndrangheta, Cosa Nostra e Camorra hanno colonizzato il mondo, Milan: Baldini Castoldi Dalai editore