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Brazilian police arrest 2 Italian drug fugitives

July 8, 2019

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian authorities said they arrested two alleged major Italian drug traffickers for extradition Monday.

The federal police said the two are suspected of working for the South American branch of the ’Ndrangheta crime cartel based in Calabria in southern Italy.

Italian officials confirmed the men’s identities as Nicola Assisi and his son Patrick. Brazil’s federal police said they conducted the operation in collaboration with Italian police.

Brazilian police supervisor Luciano Flores told reporters that the ’Ndrangheta is the one of the main criminal organizations specialized in exporting cocaine from South America to Europe.

He said the two men were detained in the city of Praia Grande, in Sao Paulo state.

Flores said they were living at a seaside community in a luxury penthouse that has hidden rooms for stashing drugs, money, guns and even themselves in the case of a police raid. Police seized cash in dollars, euros and Brazilian reais as well as three guns, he said.

A federal police statement said the penthouse apartment had a “sophisticated” surveillance system with a 360-degree camera that monitored every person who came into the building.

The statement said the two suspects have been fugitives from Italy’s justice system since 2014 and had lived in Portugal and Argentina using fake documents before coming Brazil.

Italy’s ANSA news agency said the men have been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

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