mobster capture | 

Daniel Kinahan's mafioso associate was secretly arrested TWO weeks ago in a luxury Dubai villa

Italian officials expect Raffaele Imperiale to be extradited from the Gulf State within the next month.

Raffaele Imperiale (L) and Daniel Kinahan (R)

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

Super-cartel boss Raffaele Imperiale was secretly lifted by Dubai police two weeks ago in a luxury villa in Dubai which he shared with his wife and kids.

The 46-year-old boss of the Naples-based Camorra organisation, who attended cartel boss Daniel Kinahan’s wedding in Dubai, had been wanted by Italian authorities to serve an eight year sentence for drug trafficking.

The Italian had been hiding out in Dubai since 2016 after fleeing Europe because he was facing a prison sentence in Italy.

The Sunday World can reveal Imperiale was arrested two weeks ago, on August 4, in Dubai.

However, the high-profile arrest was not made public by either Italian or local law officials who wanted to keep it under-the-radar and out of the media.

But they were forced to go public yesterday after the news leaked out in the Dutch media.

Yachts at Dubai Marina, United Arab Emirates, Middle East

According to reports in Italy, it will take at least a month before the Italian Mafioso is extradited from the United Arab Emirates.

Imperiale - who is regarded as one of the most significant drug traffickers in Europe, was arrested in his luxurious villa in Dubai while he was in the pool with his wife and four children.

His extradition will hearing now hear evidence from the Naples Public Prosecutor's Office and Dubai magistrates.

“The chief prosecutor of the DDA of Naples, Giovanni Melillo and his pool of magistrates have been working since 4 August (the day of his capture) on all the paperwork in concert with the Ministry of Grace and Justice,” according to Italian media.

“The bilateral agreement with Italy on extraditions dates back to two years is clear to everyone that his lawyers will oppose it. The legal battle is just beginning and certainly promises twists and turns.”

The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported yesterday how “multiple investigative sources at the highest level and authorities in Italy” had confirmed the arrest, although “no authorities have officially said anything about the arrest”.

“Various countries have been involved in the arrest and investigation of the alleged cocaine smuggler,” De Telegraaf wrote.

“Imperiale tops Italy's most wanted justice list. He belongs to the dreaded Camorra, the mafia organization from Naples that is fully active in the Netherlands.

“In 1996 he took over the Rockland coffee shop in Amsterdam and set up a cocaine line with the criminal Rick van de Bunt, who was liquidated (assassinated) in 2008. (It is believed) that they earned many millions of dollars (through their activities).”

Ridouan Taghi, the crime boss who is alleged to be an ally of Daniel Kinahan

In June, Sunday World revealed how Imperiale had his name added to the list of Italy’s most wanted following the arrest of fellow Mafioso Rocco Morabito.

Italian authorities have been seeking his arrest since 2016.

They consider him to be one of the country’s most significant drug traffickers.

Imperiale is believed to be one of the leaders of a 'super-cartel' which controls a major portion of Europe's lucrative cocaine trade.

Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) documents sent to Dutch police identified Imperiale, Dutch mobster Ridouan Taghi, Bosnian criminal Edin Gačanin, Richard 'El Rico' Vega and Daniel Kinahan as the heads of a so-called ‘super drug cartel.’

Richard ‘El Rico’ Riquelme

During El Rico's trial, a Dutch court heard how Imperiale appeared in a video with Kinahan which was found on the phone of Dutch drug lord.

According to the DEA, Imperiale, Taghi and Edin Gačanin also attended Kinahan’s wedding at the plush Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai in 2017.

The DEA documents described the ‘super drugs cartel’ as one of the world’s fifty largest drug cartels, with a virtual monopoly of the Peruvian cocaine trade.

The documents said the ‘super drugs cartel’ controlled around a third of the cocaine trade into Europe – with the main point of access through Dutch ports.

Born in Italy, Imperiale’s criminal career began in earnest in 1996 when an older brother who died bequeathed him the Rockland coffee shop in Amsterdam.

From here Imperiale is alleged to have embarked on his criminal career by selling ‘soft’ drugs before expanding into cocaine trafficking with Dutch drug trader Rick van de Bunt.

Imperiale was later introduced by Antonio Orefice, a member of the Moccia clan, to Elio Amato, brother of Raffaele Amato, who was at that time one of the top drug traffickers of the Di Lauro clan.

During those years Imperiale earned millions of euros, becoming the point of contact for the Di Lauro’s organization in dealing with drug trafficking cartels in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.

Imperiale is also known to be a fanatical collector of art works.

In 2016, two Van Gogh paintings, stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 2002, were recovered in a villa in Castellammare di Stabia, owned by him.

According to authorities, Imperiale was spending a fortune maintaining a lavish lifestyle in Dubai.

In March of this year further evidence emerged of the links between the Kinahan cartel and Imperiale at the trial of Richard ‘El Rico’ Riquelme in Amsterdam.

Daniel Kinahan

Daniel Kinahan appeared in a video alongside Riquelme and Imperiale recovered from the Dutchman’s phone, the trial heard.

Judges heard briefly from the prosecution how Kinahan,was a “regular contact” of Riquelme’s and was in a video on a phone seized from him following his arrest and extradition to Holland from Chile in 2017.

In June, Riquelme was sentenced to 11 years in prison after being found guilty of operating an assassination ring and laundering drug money.

His trial heard he had exchanged phone messages organising gangland murders with jailed drug boss Taghi.

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