The FBI and Italian police broke up a global heroin and cocaine trafficking ring Tuesday after stumbling on a fledgling alliance between a Calabrian mafia and associates of New York’s notorious Gambino crime family, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Twenty-four arrests were made in Italy and the United States following a two-year operation that relied both on wiretaps and on an American undercover agent named by investigators as “Jimmy,” who infiltrated the Gambinos and fooled Italians into believing he was a heroin dealer. Of the two dozen arrests, 17 were in Italy and seven in the U.S.
The coordinated sting halted the planned shipment, with help from Mexican cartels, of more than a ton of cocaine, with a street value of $1 billion, from Latin America to Italy in liquid form, smuggled inside boxes of coconuts and pineapples.
"The helicopter was being flown by a 10-year veteran pilot and his co-pilot. As they were flying, they experienced a major mechanical failure and radioed to John Wayne Airport to request permission for an emergency landing."