Nigerian mafia: 30 affiliates of the Italian branch of the “Black Ax” arrested, also in Catania

Drug trafficking, illegal immigration, exploitation of prostitution, money laundering, romantic and computer scams, for a total of almost one hundred counts, are the crimes of which the 30 people arrested in various Italian cities are accused at the end of the investigation called ” Hello Bross “.

The operational activity was conducted by the mobile squad and the judicial police section of L’Aquila together with the central operational service, with the collaboration of the mobile squads of Rome, Rieti, Bari, Caserta, Naples, Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena, Catania, Genoa, Messina, Potenza and Terni. Twenty-five house and personal searches were also carried out against as many people who, together with those arrested, are accused of mafia-type association.

All the suspects are believed to belong to the “Black Ax” organization, which has its top management in Nigeria, and of which the criminal group was the Italian branch. All members of the organization are Nigerian citizens, including the leader of the Italian “branch”, a 35-year-old who gave directions from L’Aquila, where he resided.

The investigators have reconstructed the entire hierarchical structure of the mafia organization, identifying the national leaders and the components of the peripheral joints present in various Italian cities.

The criminal group was characterized by aggression and violence, with strict rules of conduct that governed access and which gave rise to specific obligations for the members, whose observance was aimed at strengthening the associative bond.

The measures of the judge for the preliminary investigations of the court of L’Aquila were issued thanks to the elements acquired by the investigators, analyzing the numerous telephone, environmental and telematic conversations, communications on social networks and e-mail; It was also of fundamental importance to analyze current accounts and trace the flows of money and crypto currencies, without forgetting the traditional observation and shadowing services carried out throughout the national territory.

The survey also revealed that the affiliates were directly connected with the Nigerian parent company, of which they used terminology, symbols, gestures and affiliation rites.

Most of the crimes prosecuted by members of the mafia association were committed using the Internet; among the numerous computer scams, particular importance was the one that started from the purchase of bitcoins with which the suspects obtained, on the black market of the dark web, the numbers of the cloned credit cards with which online purchases were made.

During the investigative activity, in particular in the phase of asset assessments, the collaboration of the Financial Information Unit of the Bank of Italy and the Anti-Money Laundering Office of Poste Italiane proved to be very important, especially since the profits resulting from the crimes were reinvested a network of financial transactions that made it difficult to track money.

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