Prudentino named in smokes bust

ROME (AFP) – Italian customs police said yesterday they had arrested 40 people in a crackdown on a multi-million-euro network dealing in contraband cigarettes. Police in the southern city of Bari leading the 18-month-old probe said a further 182 people were being investigated on suspicion of belonging to a criminal organization. They said those arrested were linked to the alleged boss of the network, Albino Prudentino, who is currently in jail in Greece. The inquiry established links between different regional Italian mafia groups involved in the trade, including the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and Naples’s Camorra. They said Prudentino had direct links with Bernardo Provenzano, the fugitive head of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. Police said that Prudentino and his three sons had transferred up to 1.1 million kilos of contraband cigarettes, worth 137.7 million euros ($121 million), since their inquiry began. Investigators said the Greek-based network was working with groups in Italy, Spain and Britain.

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