Captured | 

Kinahan ally Raffaele Imperiale’s right-hand man arrested while ‘passing through’ Syria

Bruno Carbone (45), who had been on the run since 2003, faces 20 years of prison for international drug trafficking from Spain to Catania, Sicily via Naples.

Mohammed Abdulrahman announces the arrest of Bruno Carbone

Neasa Cumiskey and Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

An Italian drug trafficker who was the right-hand man of Kinahan associate Raffaele Imperiale has been arrested.

Bruno Carbone (45), who had been on the run since 2003, faces 20 years of prison for international drug trafficking from Spain to Catania, Sicily via Naples.

According to a statement released by Neapolitan police, Carbone was arrested at Rome’s Ciampino airport on Tuesday for crimes related to international drug trafficking.

It is reported that he had been captured in Dubai, where he spent much of his time, and extradited from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Italian justice minister Carlo Nordio issued a statement on Tuesday night thanking his UAE counterpart, Abdullah Al Nuaimi, for Carbone’s capture.

He said: “This latest arrest testifies to a consolidation of judicial cooperation between Italy and the United Arab Emirates".

However, rebel authorities in Syria have also claimed responsibility for the cocaine traffickers capture.

Mohammed Sankari, an official in jihadist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib, claimed Carbone was caught “while passing through the ‘liberated’ areas in March with the aim of reaching the regions under the control” of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Sankari made the statement on Telegram, adding that Carbone had been “handed over to his country according to the rules in force”.

And in a video statement on Wednesday, Mohammed Abdulrahman, the interior minister of the Syrian Salvation Government, also took credit for Carbone’s capture.

“After gathering additional information on him that concluded he was a leader of an armed gang in Italy, we started the process of handing the suspect back to the government of his country,” he said.

According to SITE, an American intelligence group that monitors jihadist websites, Carbone moved to Europe and Turkey before relocating to areas of Syria controlled by Assad’s regime.

He had been pretending to be a Mexican fugitive who was on the run for selling fake Rolex watches.

In December 2020, the UAE announced that authorities had arrested Carbone, only to discover they had the wrong man.

They had arrested Neapolitan businessman Domenico Alfano as he arrived in Dubai with his wife and children. He spent 32 days in prison before being released.

Meanwhile, arrest warrants were issued in Naples for 28 others connected to Imperiale’s Camorra mafia on Wednesday.

Wiretapped conversations recently revealed how 48-year-old Imperiale, a close associate of Daniel Kinahan, he organised a major shipment of cocaine from Colombia to Italy with the help of Carbone.

In the recordings, which were decrypted by Europol and passed on to Italian judicial authorities, Imperiale discusses the importation of industrial quantities of drugs.

In one of the exchanges, Imperiale tells Carbone: "Let's try to be strong. We have to do 30 t (tons) this year. (It’s) important that we do first and 30 t, and then before any other stress we can also talk about retiring.

“We have done so much to get where we are. We can't give up now.”

The Camorra-linked Italian mobster, who is a close associate of Daniel Kinahan, was arrested last year at his Dubai home and flown to Rome in March to face charges.

After his extradition to Italy, he was arrested in his prison cell following a massive anti-mafia operation that led to the seizure of more than four tonnes of cocaine worth more than €800 million.

Imperiale later tried to claim his extradition from Dubai to Italy was a “kidnapping” and in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

But an Italian court said there was no grounds to bring a direct appeal to the Supreme Court.

He is now expected to remain behind bars until his trial on organised crime offences.

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