GUILTY, BUT AT LARGE – Friday July 12 2013

– Anti-mafia investigators in Italy are angry their Government has failed to jail three Australian-based Calabrian mafiosi over drug busts worth $2 billion.
The Mr Big of the trio, Victorian-born Nicola Ciconte, 58, died of pneumonia in a Cambodian hospital this week without serving a day of a 25-year sentence imposed by Italy’s courts.
In May last year Ciconte and fellow Victorians Vincenzo Medici and Michael Calleja were found guilty in their absence of drug charges.
Medici and Calleja were jailed for 15 years.
Australian Federal Police agents have since been expecting a request to arrest the trio for extradition.
An Italian Carabinieri officer said yesterday he and colleagues were disappointed no such move had been made.
He said the trio were convicted of exporting 220 kilograms of cocaine to Australia in 1999-2000 and of involvement in a later foiled plot to ship almost two tonnes of cocaine to Melbourne.
A Carabinieri document names Ciconte as head of the Melbourne cell of the Calabrian mafia’s global cocaine smuggling gang and says he was also the deputy head of the Italian-based international syndicate.
AFP Deputy Commissioner of Operations Mike Phelan confirmed yesterday the AFP knew where to find Medici, 48, and Calleja, 54.
“Whether those people will be going back to Italy to face their sentences will be a matter for the Italian Government,” Mr Phelan told the Herald Sun.
“The AFP can neither confirm or deny whether an application for extradition has been made at this stage.”
He said the AFP had prepared a brief of evidence to charge Ciconte, Medici and Calleja with drug offences in Australia, but the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions had recommended against doing so.
“The was insufficient evidence in the eyes of the DPP to secure a prosecution in Australia,” he said.
Mr Phelan said differing rules of evidence meant some information used to convict Ciconte, Medici and Calleja in Italy, including evidence from police informers, was unable to be used in Australia – Keith Moor


About Jumpin' Jack Cash
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