A huge gun-running operation masterminded by the Sicilian mafia is being investigated by senior police officers for potential links to “terrorist activity across Europe and beyond”.
Anti-mafia prosecutors in Catania are investigating the possibility that Cosa Nostra is supplying assault weapons to organised crime syndicates from north Africa and firearms into the hands of extremists in western Europe.
Decommissioned guns legally procured from the same Slovak dealer, Afg Security, which supplied the “mass casualty” weapons used by Islamists in the Charlie Hebdo and Paris attacks of January 2015, as well as the failed terrorist attack on a TGV in France last August, appear to have ended up in the hands of the mafia.
Cosa Nostra members paid £33,000 for 160 deactivated weapons that experts could make lethal in moments. Last month a Catanian couple were arrested over the haul. They belong to the “Ceusi” mafia clan, a family tied to Catania’s dominant Santopaula clan.