2 dozen arrested in New York City, Italy mob drug trafficking ring

Sarah Wallace reports from Downtown Brooklyn.
February 11, 2014 3:44:00 PM PST
Authorities say the FBI and Italian law enforcement officials have busted an international heroin and cocaine trafficking ring that was bringing drugs into the New York City area.

Two dozen suspected drug traffickers linked to the Gambino and Bonanno crime families and the Italian crime syndicate known as 'Ndrangheta were arrested during a coordinated American-Italian operation that authorities said disrupted the multi-continent drug pipeline.

The raids targeted a network of drug smuggling that stretched from Guyana to Italy to Malaysia to the United States. There were seven arrests in New York City and 17 near the southern Italian port of Gioia Tauro, a notorious hub of organized crime.

The operation centered on Gambino associate Franco Lupoi, of Brooklyn, who police say an undercover agent recorded plotting to transport 500 kilograms of cocaine hidden in shipments of frozen fish or pineapples. Prosecutors found $7 million worth of cocaine hidden in crates pineapples and coconut milk.

The operation had been underway for two years. Agents seized hundreds of thousands of dollars cash along with cocaine, marijuana and heroin.