'Hatchet' Gerard Kavanagh shot dead in Costa del Sol pub

Posted by Land Bike Monday, 8 September 2014

Gerard Kavanagh was shot dead in a bar on the Costa del Sol Notorious gangster Gerard “Hatchet” Kavanagh was gunned down by two masked assassins yesterday as he relaxed in a Spanish pub.

The 44-year-old was riddled with up to nine bullets by the hitmen, who burst into the Costa del Sol bar in Elviria, near Marbella, just before 4pm Irish time on Saturday. A source said: “The shooting had all the hallmarks of a professional hit.” Terrified gangster Kavanagh tried to flee after spotting the assassins coming through the door of Harmons Irish Bar in Elviria, a 20-minute drive east of Marbella. But it was too late for the doomed crime boss, who fell to the ground in a hail of bullets surrounded by a pool of his own blood. A burnt-out BMW X3 was discovered nearby shortly after the shooting, which happened in broad daylight around 4pm Irish time. Spanish police were last night carrying out a forensic search of the vehicle to see if it was used as the getaway car. A source said: “The gunmen were wearing balaclavas and were dressed from head to toe in black. “The shooting had all the hallmarks of a professional hit. It looks like they picked a time when they knew the bar wasn’t going to be busy. “It is believed the victim was trying to flee when he was shot because many of the nine bullets he took hit him in the back.”

Notorious Irish gangster Gerard 'Hatchet' Kavanagh shot dead in Costa del Sol bar  A police spokesman said: “A fatal shooting has occurred near to Marbella. We are investigating.” Witnesses to the shooting told last night how the gunmen shot their victim in the back as he talked with a mystery woman – and finished the job off as he tried to run for his life. One said: “He was sat on a chair in a pair of green swimshorts talking to a woman I’d never seen before. “The men rushed up to him from behind and shot him two or three times in the back and, as he tried to run for the safety of the bar, finished the job off with a shot to the back of the head. “They turned him over to see if he was dead before fleeing. It was absolutely horrific. “The police took the dead man’s black Audi away and undertakers removed his body around 8pm.” Another said: “The killers left the engine on their getaway car running. “I’ve been told it was found burnt out at a supermarket just down the road.” A pal, who asked not to be named, said: “The dead man was lying face down just inside the door of the bar when I saw him. “He was dressed in just a pair of shorts and there was a lot of blood.” Harmons bar is sandwiched between two restaurants in a pretty, tree-lined square just off the N340 dual carriageway running along the Costa del Sol, which was once dubbed the Road of Death because of the number of accidents along it. The bar was closed last night after the horror shooting. A woman who answered a side door said: “Sorry we’ve got nothing to say. We’re not going to speak.” The owner of a neighbouring bar said: “I don’t want to say anything. This is very bad for business.” Kavanagh’s body was taken to the Costa del Sol State Hospital for X-rays last night to determine exactly how many bullets were in his body. Kavanagh, from Ben Bulben Road in Drimnagh, West Dublin, was a senior member of the notorious Kinahan gang, controlled by godfather Christy Kinahan, who is based on the Costa del Sol.

The gang is involved in drug debt collection, drug dealing on an international scale and is suspected of ordering several executions in Crumlin-Drimnagh feud. Kavanagh was jailed for four years in 1996 when he was just 25 for dealing heroin in the Crumlin area. Back then his defence had argued that Kavanagh was only before the court as he had developed a drugs habit forcing him to work as a courier for gangs. The Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told that he was involved in a chain of drug distribution headed by drug barons. Following his sentence, Kavanagh paired up with Tallaght gangster Paul Rice, who was jailed for 10 years in July 1995 after pleading guilty to the robbery of a bank in which shots were fired. Together they rose to the top of the drug ladder before Kavanagh packed up and moved to Spain where he was reported to be supplying most of Tallaght and a large area of Drimnagh with illegal drugs. He has been living in Benalmadena for almost a decade with his wife and two children where his daughter is a star of the show-jumping circuit and his son is a professional boxer. Security sources say that the shooting has now raised fears for the safety of the Kinahans.

The scene of the shooting is near to the luxury Don Carlos Hotel, which this weekend is hosting the 19th US-Spain forum. The Spanish ambassador to the USA and the American ambassador to Spain were among guests who opened the three-day event and security had been stepped up significantly in the area. Kavanagh was jailed for four years in March 1996 after he was caught with €3,500 worth of heroin and cannabis. In court, Detective Eamonn Maloney said that Kavanagh was “a major figure in drug supplies in the Crumlin, Drimnagh and Dolphin’s Barn areas of Dublin for some time”. He was forced to flee Ireland after he was targeted by anti-drug vigilantes and the Crininal Assets Bureau.

Irish man shot dead in suspected gangland murder in Spanish bar

Posted by Land Bike Sunday, 7 September 2014

Irish man shot dead in Spain was a well-known criminal who closely associated with some of the biggest drug dealers in Ireland and who gardaí believe was the intended target of a botched murder bid last month. The dead man, in his 40s and from Dublin, was singled out in a bar on the Costa del Sol on Saturday afternoon by two masked gunmen who fired at least nine shots, most of which are believed to have hit the victim.

The victim tried to run to safety when he saw the gunmen coming for him but collapsed on the premises when wounded. He was unresponsive when the emergency services later arrived at the scene. He was taken by ambulance to hospital but was pronounced dead shortly after arriving. The murder occurred just before 5.30pm local time at an Irish bar in Elivira, on the outskirts of Marbella. A BMW the gunmen are believed to have been driven to and from the scene in was later found burnt out by Spanish police.

A man identified as Amsterdam crime boss Samir B. was murdered in Benahavis, Marbella in Spain on Wednesday. image: inmo-andalucia.com The 36-year-old, also known as “Scarface,” was killed in the Spanish town near Marbella on Wednesday afternoon, Het Parool reports.

 

News reports speak of a gangland execution. Samir B. was in the Monte Halcones mall in the picturesque mountain village around 2.00pm when he was shot multiple times in his back and head by two assailants. He was apparently shot on his way out of a storefront in the shopping center. Witnesses called the authorities, but the emergency services could do nothing to resuscitate him.

The Dutch-Moroccan victim from near Sloterdijk in Amsterdam West has been named in connection with sizeable drug deals. Crimesite.nl writes that he was the largest drug dealer in the city, and he actually marked his cocaine blocks with his own stamp. B. had relocated to Spain a few years back, but apparently his hold on the Amsterdam underground remained. Het Parool writes that B. had a long career in the underworld of Amsterdam West. He grew to be one of the biggest crime bosses in the city.   In June 2010 he was arrested there and extradited to the Netherlands, in connection with the death of 12-year-old Danny Gubbels in Breda; the boy died when someone opened fire on his parent’s trailer and B. was named. He was released after only a few days in prison here, for lack of evidence.   His execution in Benahavis is being investigated by the local police, as well as the Spanish military police force, Guardia Civil, and national police agents. Earlier this month, another of Amsterdam’s criminal leaders, Derkiaoui van der Meijden, was also killed in Amsterdam Oost.

ICE cream vendor was nearly stabbed to death in his own shop in Malaga.

Posted by Land Bike Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The man was saved from a punctured abdomen by his belt buckle. One assailant punched him in the face while the other one attacked him with a 20-centimetre screwdriver. As soon as the two men came into the ice cream parlour the owner, Argentinian-born Ivan Marcelo Latino, 25, knew they were not customers. Without saying a word one of them punched him in the face, hitting his right eye, and when he defended himself and refused to open the cash register, the other attacker tried to stab him with a screwdriver which, fortunately, got caught on the victim’s belt buckle thus, possibly, saving his life. “All I have is a black eye and a small scratch on my stomach,” commented Ivan.

The events took place on calle Jacob in the Campanillas area of Malaga at around three in the afternoon when Ivan was alone in the shop and there were very few people out on the street. The two men came in from separate entrances and got violent immediately but had to run away as soon as they attracted the attention of the passers-by on the street who called the police. The would-be robbers did not manage to steal anything.

An alleged drug trafficker who is suspected of throwing a suitcase full of cocaine out his hotel window in a fit of paranoia has links to a notorious Irish crime mob. The 39-year-old suspect was arrested in Valencia, Spain at the weekend after a receptionist spotted the drugs scattered over an internal patio. The man was caught with a second suitcase packed with cocaine outside his room after he allegedly went looking for the drugs and then asked for a duplicate key when he found himself locked out.

The Irish Mirror has learned the suspect is originally from West Dublin and has links to drug importer Brian Grendon, 37. Grendon was jailed for five years in 2002 after he pleaded guilty to his part in a heroin deal worth nearly €2million. Sources have said the suspect for this latest incident will be now living in fear after losing 55kgs of the drug worth over €3million. The Irishman was expected to be remanded in custody on Monday following a behind-closed-doors hearing before an investigating magistrate. The bizarre incident happened last Friday night just before 10pm at the four-star Tryp Valencia Oceanic Hotel in the city of Valencia on Spain’s east coast. Police are said to be working on the theory the suspected drugs trafficker, who had checked into the hotel a few hours earlier, confused noise from other guests entering and leaving their rooms with a rival gang trying to steal his drugs after suffering an attack of paranoia. He had also removed ceiling tiles in his room - room number 801 - along with an air conditioning vent in an apparent attempt to hide his illegal stash.

A spokeswoman for Valencia’s National Police said: “I can confirm a 39-year-old Irish national was arrested after allegedly throwing a suitcase full of cocaine from his eighth-floor hotel window. “We were alerted by a receptionist. “The man in question was arrested outside his room after officers spotted him with a suitcase similar to the one laden with drugs which had been thrown into an internal hotel patio, and discovered it also contained cocaine. “They found ceiling tiles had been dislodged along with an air conditioning vent and the bath had been filled with water when they entered the room. “In all they confiscated 55 kilos of cocaine. “The Irishman, who doesn’t have a criminal record in Spain, has been handed over to an investigating judge for further questioning. “We are not speculating on why he might have wanted to get rid of any cocaine he had been carrying.” A hotel receptionist said yesterday the hotel would not be making any comment. But an unnamed hotel employee told a local paper: “He disconnected the toilet flush and caused quite a bit of damage in his room. “He looked like he’s suddenly gone mad after throwing the drugs out of his room.” A source close to the case said: “He might have more than the courts on his back after all this. “If he was working for a drugs gang, they’re not going to be happy about losing such a big supply of cocaine.” “He’s almost certainly going to be remanded in custody with that amount of drugs.”

HASH trafficking operation between Spain and Denmark has been busted in Coin and Mijas, with six arrested. Operation Dynamo, a collaboration between Spanish national and Coin local police, saw a total of 94kg of the drug intercepted. The first 53kg was found July 25 in the trunk of a car driving through Mijas en route to Denmark. The other 41kg was later discovered in a house in Coin, according to the Malaga Province Police Station.

127 kilo cocaine haul found on Spanish naval training ship

Posted by Land Bike Friday, 8 August 2014

127-kilo cocaine haul with a street value of almost €500,000 was found aboard the Spanish naval training ship Juan Sebastian Elcano docked in Cadiz.  The discovery was made by the Civil Guard who seized and searched the vessel when it returned to Spain following a six-month global voyage. The drugs are thought to have been loaded in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, where the boat stopped in mid-April. In early May more than 20 kilos of cocaine loaded on ship was sold while it was docked in New York, with the Spanish authorities then tipped off by the US department of Homeland Security Investigations.  It took until last month when the ship moored off of the northwest Spanish city Pontevedra to detain three suspected sailors – two Spaniards and an Ecuadorian – for drug trafficking. It is  unknown whether the three  had accomplices, though US authorities report the men were paid €3,800 for every kilo they trafficked.

Local Police in Malaga have arrested two employees at a city brothel on suspicion of taking €3,600 from a client after spiking his drinks. The victim, a 64-year-old Swiss man, has claimed that he was plied with alcohol or narcotics which left him confused and oblivious to the fact that large amounts of money were being taken from his credit cards. Once he discovered the unusual activity in his bank account, the victim presented himself at a police station to report the incident.

The police took the club owner and one of his employees, who authorised the transactions, into custody, where they were later charged with fraud. A total of €3,647 was taken from two credit cards belonging to the Swiss citizen. This is not the first case of this kind to have been reported recently. Last month, the managers of two brothels and a café in Valencia were accused of defrauding €95,000 from clients using the same methods of drink spiking. The majority of those affected by this type of crime are tourists who do not generally notice that the money has been taken until they have returned to their home countries, making the police’s job of registering and tracking the offences all the more difficult. The authorities are currently attempting to identify more victims in an effort to clamp down on drink spiking during these popular tourist months.

 criminal Gary Hutch was the intended target of an assassination attempt in Spain which left an innocent boxer with serious injuries. Boxing coach and respected Sky Sports pundit Jamie Moore was attacked in the Spanish resort of Marbella outside a villa owned by Daniel Kinahan, son of crime boss Christy Kinahan on Saturday night. But gardai have received intelligence that the nephew of former criminal mastermind Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch was attending a party in Kinahan's house and he was the intended target of the shooting. Moore was shot at five times and hit twice - in the leg and the foot. Hutch previously survived after his best pal Barry Doyle was shot dead allegedly by the Russian mafia in February 2008, as part of a feud among traffickers.

Former Manchester boxer Moore had been training Matthew Macklin (32) all summer at Macklin's MGM gym in the Puerto Banus area ahead of a fight at Dublin's National Stadium on August 30. But yesterday it was announced that the fight has now been called off. Macklin, who has no involvement in crime, is the boxer who the feared Christy Kinahan's international crime syndicate supports. Senior members of the mob are regularly seen ringside at his fights. Yesterday in a statement, Macklin said: "I am disappointed to have to postpone my fight but in the light of the circumstances and the disruption to my preparation it is the right thing to do. "Every fight at this stage in my career is of huge importance and being 100pc on the night is vital." Macklin has been photographed with Gary Hutch in the past and sources say that gardai want to question Hutch about a number of serious crimes. Hutch was sitting beside hitman pal Barry Doyle when he was shot dead in 2008.

Doyle was gunned down as he tried to escape in a BMW X5 SUV which had come under fire on the outskirts of Estepona, about 10 miles from Marbella. Sources say that foreign gangs based in Spain have decided that Gary Hutch is a target because of his involvement in the Kianahan mob but detectives in the secretive Crime and Security section at garda headquarters have not yet fully established if this is the case. Hutch is well-known to gardai, having served time for being a getaway driver in a jewellery heist and is a close pal of notorious criminal 'Fat' Freddie Thompson. Before he left for Spain, Hutch was involved in a number of feuds in Dublin's north inner city and has been a target for gardai for years. Meanwhile well respected former boxing champ Jamie Moore used his Twitter account to reveal he was recovering from the gun attack.

Spain: INTERPOL Targets Trafficking Of Stolen Vehicles

Posted by Land Bike Thursday, 7 August 2014

In an INTERPOL-supported operation in Spain targeting the trafficking of stolen vehicles, nearly 20 vehicles were recovered and some 15 individuals arrested. Led by the Spanish National Police, Operation Paso del Estrecho (which means ‘crossing the straits’), was conducted from 28 July to 1 August at the port of Algeciras in southern Spain, a known route used by organised criminal networks to smuggle cars stolen from throughout Europe into North Africa.

With the assistance of INTERPOL’s Stolen Motor Vehicles (SMV) unit, police monitored car ferries leaving the port en route to Morocco, with some 5,000 vehicles screened against INTERPOL’s SMV database. INTERPOL coordinated the deployment of 28 experts from seven countries to support the operation. The experts are members of the INTERPOL Stolen Motor Vehicles (SMV) Task Force, comprising police and private investigators who support member countries with operations targeting the theft and trafficking of motor vehicles. The INTERPOL SMV database contains more than 7 million records submitted by 128 member countries. In 2013, countries searched the database more than 125 million times, resulting in 117,000 positive hits. “Operation Paso del Estrecho was very important because it allowed us not only to detect and recover stolen vehicles from Spain and other European countries, but also to obtain crucial information that will allow us to continue our investigations into the organized crime groups dedicated to illegal vehicle trafficking,” said Ángel Arroyo Morales, Head of the vehicle crime investigation unit of the Spanish National Police Central Squad of Organized Crime. “There is no doubt that with strong cooperation between INTERPOL and police across Europe and beyond, we will continue to recover even more stolen vehicles before they can be used for criminal purposes,” he concluded. In addition, 15 people were arrested during the operation, including one Ukrainian and two Spanish nationals arrested in connection with a major investigation of the Central Squad of Organized Crime of the Spanish National Police.

They are suspected of being the masterminds behind a vast trafficking ring transporting stolen luxury cars between Spain and Ukraine, via Poland and Moldova. The stolen vehicles seized came from various European countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden, demonstrating the transnational character of this crime. “The trafficking of stolen vehicles is a crime that knows no borders. The only way to effectively combat the organized criminal networks behind this crime is therefore through coordinated joint actions, as evidenced by this successful operation,” said INTERPOL’s Director of Specialized Crime and Analysis, Glyn Lewis. Operation Paso del Estrecho is an annual initiative conducted by Spanish police in Algeciras – a major gateway between Europe and Africa which sees approximately 4.8 million people and 1.3 million vehicles pass through each year – to prevent stolen vehicles from leaving the country and to identify and disrupt the criminal groups responsible for the illicit trafficking. Highlighting the links between organized crime and the trafficking of stolen motor vehicles – which are often used in the commission of other serious crimes – is a key part of INTERPOL’s global Turn Back Crime campaign. The campaign aims to raise awareness of these hidden links, and of the very real effect these crimes can have on people’s daily lives.

Former European boxing champion Jamie Moore is under armed police guard in a Spanish hospital after he was shot in the legs in Marbella at the weekend. 

Moore is currently based in Spain with his wife and two children where he is training Irish boxer Matthew Macklin at the MGM gym in Puerto Banus ahead of his upcoming fight in the National Stadium on August 30. Moore was shot in both legs and the foot when the gunman targeted him after he left a party on Saturday night but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. “Just to let everyone know Jamie Moore is still in hospital but he should be ok,” Macklin tweeted last night. “He was shot in his legs but the doctors have said there shouldn’t be any serious or permanent damage done.”

The coach and well-respected Sky Sports pundit who has no involvement in crime agreed to become Macklin’s coach last year, but gardai sources have indicated that “special surveillance plans” are in place for the upcoming fight. The villa where Moore was shot is owned by boxing manager Daniel Kinahan, a key member of the Christy Kinahan crime syndicate which operates a sizeable crime operation on Spain’s infamous Costa del Crime. Nicknamed the ‘Tipperary Tornado’, Birmingham-born Macklin has no involvement in crime but has been photographed in the company of major gangsters Gary Hutch and Daniekl Kinahan at major events.

Fugitive conman, drug dealer and money launderer Martin Evans has been arrested by armed police in South Africa after three years on the run.

Evans, 52, from Swansea - who was jailed for 21 years in 2006 for conspiracy to supply cocaine and fraudulent trading - was arrested in Johannesburg on Saturday.

His scams included swindling 87 investors out of £900,000 in an ostrich farm fraud in south Wales.

He will appear in court on Monday.

Evans was named by police as one of the UK's "most wanted" in 2012 who said they suspected he was living a life of luxury, probably on Cyprus.

A spokesman for the National Crime Agency (NCA) said Evans was sought as part of Operation Zygos, which was set up to track Britain's 12 most wanted people.

He said: "We knew he had moved to South Africa. We were tracking him down."

Evans disappeared in August 2011 after failing to return from a weekend release from prison in Wiltshire.

He was arrested on Saturday night after an operation involving the NCA and Interpol, and intelligence-led surveillance operations were handled by South African Police.

Hank Cole, the NCA's head of international operations, said: "The exceptional level of collaboration and intelligence sharing with the South African Police Service led to the capture of Evans.

"This arrest shows the NCA and its partners will pursue fugitives wherever they are in the world.

"They can run but they can't hide. We have the capacity to track them down and bring them to justice."

Evans had been known to use the aliases Martin Roydon Evans, Martin Wayne Evans, Anthony Hall and Paul Kelly.

It is not the first time Evans has been on the run.

Before he was jailed in 2006, he had been hiding in Holland and Spain, where he masterminded a drugs and money laundering operation, shipping at least £3m of ecstasy and cocaine into Britain.

Evans began his criminal career in the mid 1990s after his double-glazing firm in Port Talbot failed.

Martin Evans at his ostrich farm
Evans set up his ostrich farm after another business failed

He set up an ostrich-breeding business, promising profits of 70% a year, and targeting newly-retired people for investment by advertising in specialist retirement magazines.

On the day his trial was due to start in Swansea in March 2000, Evans jumped bail and sent a fax to the court saying he would not be attending.

Criminal earnings

He went on the run as the authorities searched for his assets in Jersey and the Bahamas.

 

Just when police thought they had finally loosened the Mafia's historical stranglehold over Sicily, a new generation of brash mobsters is reclaiming the streets of Palermo - and bragging about it on Facebook. After years when Cosa Nostra luminaries communicated only by hand written notes in code, their youthful successors are making increasingly unabashed online boasts about their wealth, power and contempt for the magistrates hunting them down. One Palermo mobster, Domenico Palazzotto, 28, who created a Facebook page under a false name, posted photos of himself cruising on motorboats, sitting down to sumptuous lobster and champagne dinners and riding in a limousine. The rising boss, who called the shots in the Arenella neighbourhood of Palermo, where he allegedly helped run extortion rackets, listed his liking for Neapolitan music and the US singer Kenny Loggins and name-checked an Italian TV series about the Mafia. Amid crude insults apparently aimed at the police, Mr Palazzotto also swapped messages with an aspiring mobster who asked to be enrolled in his clan

Domenico Palazzotto, a Palermo mobster, has created a Facebook page under a false name, posted photos of himself cruising on motorboats, sitting down to sumptuous lobster and champagne dinners and riding in a limousine

Domenico Palazzotto, a Palermo mobster, has created a Facebook page under a false name, posted photos of himself cruising on motorboats Photo: Facebook
 

Just when police thought they had finally loosened the Mafia's historical stranglehold over Sicily, a new generation of brash mobsters is reclaiming the streets of Palermo - and bragging about it on Facebook.

After years when Cosa Nostra luminaries communicated only by hand written notes in code, their youthful successors are making increasingly unabashed online boasts about their wealth, power and contempt for the magistrates hunting them down.

One Palermo mobster, Domenico Palazzotto, 28, who created a Facebook page under a false name, posted photos of himself cruising on motorboats, sitting down to sumptuous lobster and champagne dinners and riding in a limousine.

The rising boss, who called the shots in the Arenella neighbourhood of Palermo, where he allegedly helped run extortion rackets, listed his liking for Neapolitan music and the US singer Kenny Loggins and name-checked an Italian TV series about the Mafia.

Amid crude insults apparently aimed at the police, Mr Palazzotto also swapped messages with an aspiring mobster who asked to be enrolled in his clan.

"Yes, brother," replied Mr Palazzotto jokingly. "We need to consider your criminal record. We do not take on people with clean records."

A photo uploaded onto the Facebook page (Facebook)

The boss then adds, "Join my team.. We are the strongest, ha ha ha."

In a brief video also posted online, one of Palazzotto's loyal mobsters yells "I am the Godfather," to which Palazzotto adds the comment, "Well, I am the original."

However, while the online postings, which were revealed by Italianmagazine L'Espresso, are thought to be partly intended to spread fear among the Mafia's host communities, such flagrant disregard for mafia's traditional penchant for discretion could also be the mobsters' undoing.

An investigative source in Palermo told The Telegraph that officers were spending time checking through Facebook to seek out the bosses lurking behind false names.

Salvatore D'Alessandro, a rising mob henchman loyal to Mr Palazzotto, also posted on Facebook under a pseudonym, uploading photos of dinners and boat rides with his boss and described his ambition to move up the organisation's ranks.

Domenico Palazzoto on a motor boat, which he uploaded to his Facebook account which was under a false name (Facebook)

"For the time being I am one of the small sharks hunting in the deep," he wrote. "But the moment will come when I rise to the surface and will have no pity for anyone."

The investigative source, who declined to be named, said the mob was "pushing to make a comeback in Palermo", following years when the ranks of Mafiosi were decimated by arrests. But the new generation, the source added, could not be more different to its predecessors.

"Going online would have been unthinkable for the old guard," the source said. "They lived in farm houses and existed on bread, cheese and vegetables grown there, without using phones and relying on 'pizzini' (handwritten notes) to get their orders out.

"The new generation are using Facebook, texts and WhatsApp to show that they are going to the best discos, beaches and restaurants, because they believe that is key to earning respect. The problem is that makes you traceable and they are getting arrested."

"There is a new generation of Mafiosi in Palermo," said a Sicily-based magistrate who also declined to be named, "but they have yet to prove they have the quality of their predecessors."

Mr Palazzotto was among 95 mobsters rounded up in June in Palermo in an operation dubbed 'Operation Apocalypse' aimed at decapitating the city's new Mafia leadership. Police said they had put a temporary stop to vote rigging, extortion and drug trafficking operations as well as the laundering of ill gotten cash through betting shops. More importantly, officers said they had halted a bid to pull together scrapping clans across the city into a more compact criminal empire, harking back to the leadership of Toto Riina, the "boss of bosses" jailed in 1993.

Investigators alleged a key figure in the rebirth was Mr Palazzotto's cousin Gregorio Palazzotto, 37, who was issuing orders despite being in jail.

The Facebook page which Domenico Palazzoto made under a fake name (Facebook)

A keen user of Facebook, Gregorio used the site to insult Mafia turncoats who gave evidence to get out of jail, writing "I have no fear of handcuffs, but I am afraid of those who start singing to get out of them." In other messages he demanded an amnesty for prisoners to end prison overcrowding.

He also posted loving messages to his wife, pasted onto a background of an image of jail cells, writing in one: "If my heart was a jail, you would be condemned to a life sentence."

His wife wrote back: "My love, I am here to support you," and "When this nightmare is over, you will start to live again."

In another message, in which she superimposed the image of a wedding behind bars, Pallazzotto's wife wrote, "These bars will not divide us and will make our love stronger."

As police get wind of Facebook bragging by Mafiosi, a more time honoured means for the mobsters to show off their power, involving Cosa Nostra's venerable links to the Catholic Church, resurfaced in Palermo last week.

During one of the religious processions that frequently wind their way through the city, volunteers carrying a statue of a Madonna briefly set it down outside a funeral parlour owned by the family of Alessandro D'Ambrogioin, a jailed Mafia boss, what was viewed as a sign of respect.

During the pause outside the shopfront, where D'Ambrogio held mob summits, local children were lifted up to kiss the statue.

The incident recalled a similar, suspicious pause in a procession in Calabria last month near the home of jailed Calabrian boss Peppe Mazzagatti, which prompted outrage in the wake of Pope Francis' call for mobsters to be excommunicated.

100 people plus who evacuated their homes as a fire swept across Mijas Costa on the Costa del Sol started to return in the early hours as the blaze was finally brought under control.

The bush fire that started in the El Chaparral district of Mijas Costa was fought by 12 aircraft and firefighters from towns all along the Costa del Sol. The blaze, first spotted around 7.30pm yesterday (Friday) rapidly spread, fanned by strong winds. Mijas council opened the La Cala sports centre as an emergency shelter for those fleeing the flames. By 8pm the fire around the original hotspot at El Chaparral was under control, but it was spreading quickly from a new hotspot towards the Cerrado de Aguila golf course and urbanisation. It had spread past the lush fairways of El Chaparral golf which may have helped protect the homes on the nearby urbanisation. A firebreak was bulldozed near a secondary school – the flames had come to within 100m of it and were perilously close to a Eucalyptus wood just over the road from the CEIP El Chaparral. INFOCA (forest fire control service) said there were three hotspots, the main one being at El Chaparral, another at nearby La Roza and the third near the hipodromo horse racing track.

The integrated fire plan was put into action to fight the fire, with police and civil protection volunteers blocking off roads while Mijas council water tankers accompanied fireengines from Mijas, Benalmadena, Torremolinos, Fuengirola Manilva and Marbella as they followed narrow urbanisation roads to tackle hotspots and protect property. Firefighters worked through the night to put the fire out. Twenty five INFOCA firefighters were remaining on the scene today to dampen down and control any fresh outbreaks.

The Guardia Civil and National Police dismantled 497 criminal organisations in 2013 and detained 6,292 people for drug and human trafficking, said Security Secretary Francisco Martinez last Thursday talking to the media. Police operations to crackdown on organised crime in Spain had a 97 per cent success rate, he added. As much as 83 per cent of all groups dismantled had been operating for less than three years, while seven out of every 10 criminal organisations were made up of nationals from more than two different countries. Most criminal organisations were based in Barcelona and Madrid, followed by Cadiz, Malaga, Alicante, Valencia, Sevilla and Murcia. The large majority of them traffic in cocaine (31 per cent) and 21 per cent traffics in hashish, said Martinez. Following the nationwide operations launched last year to crackdown on organised crime, Spanish police seized almost 20 tons of cocaine, 146,708 kilograms of hashish, 103 kilograms of heroin, more than 10,000 ecstasy pills, 2,102 cars, 119 boats, six aircraft, 558 guns, 630 knives, 909 computers, 4,498 mobile phones and €30 million. Data show arrests for human trafficking also increased last year, with as many as 753 people detained or 33 per cent more than in 2012, said Martinez. A total of 1,180 victims - most of them Romanian, Chinese and Spanish nationals - were freed from the clutches of these criminal organisations, he added.

In flight terror as maniac CRACKS plane window at 35,000 feet

Posted by Land Bike Friday, 1 August 2014

holiday jet passenger has been charged with endangering a flight after allegedly cracking a window with a single punch. The pilot of Thomson Airways flight Tom145 radioed a message to police at Manchester Airport after the window cracked as the jet travelled 35,000ft over Ireland. Officers went to the gate and arrested Nicholas Whittaker, 43, from Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, before he disembarked.

The drama happened at about 5.30am as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was coming to the end of its flight from Sanford Airport in Florida on May 25. It is understood it was approaching the coast of Ireland when the incident happened. Nobody was injured. The aircraft was packed with families returning to Manchester from holidays in Florida, with many having enjoyed trips to Disney World in Orlando. Whittaker, of Bentinck Street in Ashton, was charged with recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or anyone on board, in accordance with Regulation 137 of the Air Navigation Order 2009.

He is due to appear before Trafford Magistrates’ Court on August 11. Aviation experts say passengers are only in jeopardy if both the inner and outer pane of an aircraft window are breached. It is understood only the inner pane was cracked. One said: “To break the inner pane is difficult and to break the outer pane is almost impossible. “If it did happen, the cabin will decompress and essentially everything will be sucked out of the aircraft.” A spokeswoman for Thomson Airways declined to comment on the matter in detail because of the criminal charges, but added: “We do have a zero-tolerance approach on all our aircraft. “Passenger safety is our paramount priority.” A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “At about 5.30am on May 25, 2014, police at the airport were informed by a member of the crew that a passenger on an inbound flight from Florida had struck an aircraft window, causing it to crack. “On arrival, a 43-year-old man was arrested on the aircraft.”

 

Christy Kinahan was celebrating today after being told he will not face trial in Spain on drugs and arms trafficking charges.

The underworld boss feared he would be prosecuted for the crimes after a high-profile police raid on his Costa del Sol home in May 2010,

But a judge investigating the Irishman and a gang of alleged accomplices including his two sons has decided to drop the allegations.

Kinahan, who was hauled back to a court in Estepona yesterday for further questioning, is now being probed only on suspicion of money laundering and membership of a criminal gang.

 

 

 

The dramatic decision, which a state prosecutor decided not to appeal against, will be seen as a major blow for the Spanish police and politicians.

Former Home Secretary Alfredo Rubalcaba branded the Kinahans a “mafia family” when Christy and sons Christopher and Daniel were arrested during a series of dawn raids on the Costa del Sol.

Nearly a dozen suspects were arrested in the UK and Ireland as part of the same Europol-coordinated police operation.

Rubalcaba, who has just been replaced as leader of Spain’s main opposition party, even linked the alleged gang ringleaders to a string of murders when he reacted to news of the arrests during a visit to Poland.

He said at the time: “This was an operation against an important, well-known mafia of organised crime, which has operated in different countries and which is being linked to various murders and with a number of crimes from drug trafficking to people trafficking.

“It is a mafia family relatively well-known in the United Kingdom, a little less known in Spain, but they are established on the Costa del Sol.”

Investigating judge Maria Carmen Gutierrez Henares is understood to have binned her drugs and weapons trafficking probe after finding no evidence linking Kinahan and his alleged accomplices to the crimes.

Christy and his sons and alleged right-hand man John Cunningham will remain on bail along with the other suspects while the secret court probe continues into the money laundering and criminal gang membership allegations.

 

Daniel Kinahan, front wearing shades, carries his mother's coffin
 

 

Sources close to the long-running case predicted last night it could take at least two more years to reach trial - and the number of defendants in the dock would be a fraction of those originally arrested.

One insider said: “All the suspects including Christy Kinahan have been called back to court over the last three weeks to give evidence behind closed doors.

“Most said they had nothing to add to earlier statements.

“Christy KInahan attended court yesterday/on Wednesday but managed to get in and out of the building without anyone cottoning on to the fact it was him.

“He’s not surprised the drugs and weapons allegations against him have been dropped but he’s obviously very relieved.

“The judge took her decision around the same time she called the first of the suspects in for further questioning.

“Their defence lawyers are confident the money laundering charges are not going to prosper either.”

Another well-placed source added: “The suspects weren’t asked a single question about drugs or weapons.

“Most declined to add anything to their original statements.”

More than 20 people including the Kinahans were arrested on the Costa del Sol more than four years ago as part of Operation Shovel.

Christy, arrested at his luxury apartment in a private development near Estepona, spent six months on remand in jail before being bailed.

Armed officers sealed off a residential street after his detention before marching him into court.

Police said at the time the gang he is said to have led owned property worth 500 million euros in Brazil and 160 million euros in Spain.

The suspects had a fleet of expensive cars seized and bank accounts frozen

Christy Kinahan feared he would be prosecuted for the crimes after a high-profile police raid on his Costa del Sol home in May 2010. But a judge investigating the Irishman and a gang of alleged accomplices, including his two sons, has decided to drop the allegations. Kinahan, who was hauled back to a court in Estepona on Wednesday for further questioning, is now being probed only on suspicion of money laundering and membership of a criminal gang.

The dramatic decision, which a state prosecutor decided not to appeal against, will be seen as a major blow for the Spanish police and politicians. Kinahan and sons Christopher and Daniel were arrested during a series of dawn raids on the Costa del Sol, while nearly a dozen suspects were arrested in Ireland and the UK as part of the same Europol operation. Investigating judge Maria Carmen Gutierrez Henares is understood to have binned her drugs and weapons trafficking probe after finding no evidence linking Kinahan and his alleged accomplices to the crimes. Christy, his sons, and alleged right-hand man John Cunningham, will remain on bail along with the other suspects while the court probe continues into money laundering and criminal gang membership allegations. Sources close to the long-running case predicted last night it could take at least two more years to reach trial – and the number of defendants in the dock would be a fraction of those originally arrested.

One insider said: "All the suspects, including Christy, have been called back to court over the last three weeks to give evidence behind closed doors. "Most said they had nothing to add to earlier statements. "Christy attended court on Wednesday but managed to get in and out of the building without anyone cottoning on to the fact it was him. "He's not surprised the drugs and weapons allegations against him have been dropped, but he's very relieved. "The judge took her decision around the same time she called the first of the suspects in for further questioning. "Their defence lawyers are confident the money laundering charges are not going to prosper either." Another well-placed source added: "

The suspects weren't asked a single question about drugs or weapons." More than 20 people including the Kinahans were arrested on the Costa del Sol more than four years ago as part of Operation Shovel. Christy Kinahan, arrested at his luxury apartment in a private development near Estepona, spent six months on remand in jail before being bailed. At the time police said Kinahan had property worth €500m in Brazil and €160m in Spain.

Spanish Government Cars With an Unsavory Past

Posted by Land Bike Friday, 25 July 2014

A nationwide raid on a criminal group recently netted the Spanish police an extensive booty: 52 cars and motorbikes, as well as two boats, and 6.5 tons of gold and silver. Rather than let the spoils go to waste, the Spanish interior minister and other top security officials lighted on a novel cost savings in these hard economic times.

Four of the cars, it turned out, were newly armored and better than the ones they had. So they decided to use them. Jorge Fernández Díaz, the interior minister, got special permission in April from a court in Valencia to use the armored cars for police purposes. The court is handling the investigation into the criminal group and overseeing its seized assets. Confirming a report published this week in the newspaper El Mundo, Mr. Fernández Díaz stressed the cost savings of the unconventional vehicle upgrade.

Four bulletproof cars used by the criminals are valued at about 400,000 euros, or nearly $540,000. “We are saving money for the public treasury, for citizens, and we are raising our means to fight these gangs with greater efficiency,” the minister told reporters. The secretary of state for security and the director general of the Spanish police are also using confiscated armored cars, which are far newer as well as lighter than their previous cars. In any case, officials said, the previous cars had been due for expensive maintenance and repair work. A 2011 cease-fire by ETA, the Basque separatist group, prompted significant cuts in government spending on armored vehicles and bodyguards to protect officials. The cease-fire also coincided with a financial crisis that put the spotlight on unjustified government spending in a time of austerity, which left many Spaniards struggling with tax increases and salary cuts. During a four-decade campaign of terrorism, ETA killed more than 800 people in bombings and assassinations. José María Aznar, a former Spanish prime minister, escaped with light injuries when his armored car was bombed in Madrid in 1995. At the time, he was the leader of the opposition Popular Party. But ETA, which issued a statement this month saying it had dismantled its military wing, has not killed anyone on Spanish soil since 2009. Spain’s government, however, says that the group must surrender unconditionally and turn over all its weapons. Defending the use of the confiscated armored cars, Mr. Fernández Díaz said it was not unusual for crime money to aid Spain’s public finances, or for the Spanish state to make use of “decommissioned” assets after criminal cases are closed.

Last year, for instance, money seized and accounts frozen as part of drug trafficking cases added €22.1 million, or nearly $30 million, to the Spanish treasury. Before getting the armored cars, the minister said, his security forces had already inherited some boats and aircraft from criminals, without providing a detailed listing. “This is not the first time, and hopefully not the last,” he said. What has become of the boats, he did not say.

General Hugo Carvajal was arrested in Aruba on Wednesday about 6 pm local time on arrival to the Caribbean island belonging to the Netherlands, which traveled on a false passport. Despite claiming immunity diplomatic , on his appointment as consul on the island by the government of Nicolas Maduro , border guards denied that status, because his appointment had not yet been accredited by the Dutch authorities .

These acted at the request of the United States , the Netherlands previously revealed the contents of an allegation that the Attorney for the Southern District of New York kept secret ("sealed indictment") against Hugo Carvajal. The general and was included in2008 in the black list of the U.S. Treasury, for "assistance" to the FARC , the Colombian guerrillas. He was accused of "protecting Venezuelan counternarcotics authorities drug shipments and providing weapons to the FARC."

Relations with governments and terrorists

Sources in Washington involved in collecting evidence against Carvajal, ensure that the general, called by many the alias of"Chicken" , is the most central figure in the plot of druglaunched by the own Hugo Chavez and whose activities have led out several generals, known as the "sign of the Suns" .

" Carvajal was responsible for collecting the drug FARC and controlled the entire distribution process to the United States and Europe , and also took care of the money laundering through the PDVSA oil 'say these sources, who believe their detention will "uncover large pot of money laundering conducted by PDVSA." The general came to Aruba precisely in a plane owned by a figurehead Rafael Ramirez , president of the oil. Besides the extraordinary point Carvajal can provide information on the relationship of Chavez's Venezuela with Hezbollah and Iran . "It's like Pablo Escobar and Vladimiro Montesinos together, a chief of intelligence to put drug lord , "they say.

Carvajal was head of the Military Intelligence Directorate (DIM) for much of the Chávez era , between 2004 and 2011 . then returned to be appointed to the post by Maduro in 2013, although he remained a short time.

The processing of extradition to the United States can take to resolve between diez and fifteen days . The extradition will be confronted by the Venezuelan government, which said in a statement that "categorically rejects the illegal and arbitrary detention" of Carvajal, whom he described as "diplomat".



Ulrich says in the interview with the mrror that he was using cocaine up to around ten years ago but, when reading about Gallagher's own experiences with the drug, decided he wanted to stop."I loved the social elements of cocaine. I loved the danger of it," he said. "Then, about 10 years ago, I read an interview with Noel Gallagher, in which he said, 'I just stopped doing cocaine'. I thought that was really cool. It felt so fresh, so honest, so pure - I love that side of him. I've never had an addictive personality, so I woke up one day and said, 'Enough'."In fact, Ulrich says he only began taking cocaine in order to be able to drink more with his bandmates. "In the early days, I'd always get drunk way faster than the other guys," said Ulrich. "I realised that if there was a little bit of cocaine involved I could stay up longer, instead of ending up face down in the corner, passed out three hours before the party ended."

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