Italian police on Tuesday arrested 16 people as they smashed a Nigerian mafia drugs ring in the northern city of Trento, ANSA News Agency of Italy reported on Tuesday.
The report also said police carried out 20 raids in the regions of Trentino, Veneto and Lombardy in the operation, codenamed ‘Underground’.
Police said the gang-controlled the drugs trade in Trento.
It was based, however, in the back of a Nigerian ethnic goods store in the Veneto city of Verona, police said – while the drugs were stored in another Veneto city, Vicenza.
Those arrested, the police said, allegedly ‘commuted’ to and from Trento and Verona on the train.
The report added that the drugs traffic and distribution was allegedly managed by a Nigerian woman, Agho Isoken Tina, aka Mama T, who was allegedly assisted by her son and sister-in-law.
The gang allegedly used the proceeds of prostitution, one of the Nigerian mafia’s staple occupations, to buy the drugs.
Trento Flying Squad Commander, Tommaso Niglio, who led the team that smashed the gang, said many of the pushers were poor asylum seekers, adding that they would often swallow the doses, risking their lives rather than face arrest.
It was gathered that the police seized half a kilogramme of cocaine and heroin in during the raid.