Thursday, October 18, 2007

U.S. won't extradite drug criminal

U.S. Immigration Judge D.D. Sitgraves cited humanitarian reasons for refusing an Italian extradition request for convicted drug trafficker Rosario Gambino, according to an Oct. 15 story by Anna Gorman of the Los Angeles Times.

The judge was concerned that Gambino would be subjected to physical and psychological pressure amounting to "torture" while in Italian custody.

According to a story by John Hooper of the UK Guardian, Italy routinely places restrictions on imprisoned organized criminals. They spend much of their time in solitary confinement, have limited access to open air and to family visits. Their mail is censored. Italian officials say the restrictions are necessary to ensure that Mafiosi do not continue to run their criminal enterprises while in prison.

Gambino's attorney P. Joseph Sandoval explained, "It's a humanitarian issue. The prison conditions in his specific case will be life-threatening and life-shortening."

Gambino, a reputed member of the crime family sharing his name, has served 22 years in a California prison on a drug trafficking conviction. He was removed to an immigration detention center last year, as his appeal against the Italian extradition request was processed.

U.S. immigration officials plan to appeal the judge's decision.

'Ndrangheta informant dies before testifying

There is concern that Bruno Piccolo, an informant on the workings of the 'Ndrangheta criminal society of Calabria, Italy, was "suicided" while under official protection, according to a story published by the UK Guardian.

Piccolo's lifeless body was found Tuesday in an Adriatic coast hideaway. Preliminary findings indicated that Piccolo ended his own life, but Italian political leaders are demanding a complete investigation. Piccolo was preparing to testify on the 2005 assassination of Calabrian politician Francesco Fortugno.

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Writer, editor, researcher, web publisher, specializing in organized crime history. (I am available to assist with your historical/genealogical research, as well as your writing and editing chores. Email me at
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website; moderator of Mafia-related online forums; author of Wrongly Executed?; coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime; contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime; writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.