top prosecutor and anti-mafia chief Franco Roberti posited that ISIS and the
Italian mafia are cooperating to smuggle hashish into Europe. Evidence of the relatively
recent joint efforts is being collected in an ongoing investigation launched in
February 2015 that was triggered by the striking similarities in the two
criminal organizations’ modus operandi.
Roberti argued that the
decriminalization of cannabis or a change in legislation regulating cannabis
production and sale would significantly hurt both ISIS and mafia profits. The Italian mafia controls most of Italy’s
illegal drug supplies and generates annual profits of $36 billion. A report released by IHS
estimates that 7 percent
of ISIS funding comes from the narcotics trade, and Sirte, ISIS stronghold in
the Mediterranean outside Syria and Iraq, lies on the territory of the main
smuggling route for North African hash, running from Casablanca to Tobruk
through Tunisia and Algeria.
whose details have not yet been made public, police have found evidence that
Italian organised crime, which has long controlled most of the country's
illegal drug supplies, and "suspected terrorists" in North Africa are
trafficking hash together, Roberti said.
One reason it
makes sense for his office to coordinate anti-terror investigations is that
Islamist militants and traditional mafias - like Sicily's Cosa Nostra - commit
similar crimes, Roberti said.
terrorism finances itself with criminal activities that are typical of the
mafia, like drug trafficking, smuggling commercial goods, smuggling oil,
smuggling archaeological relics and art, kidnapping for ransom, and
extortion," he said.
Facing the huge
challenges of fighting people smuggling, cocaine trafficking, and international
terrorism, investigators are spending too much time and energy to combat
cannabis dealers, and to little effect, said Roberti.
"We spend a
lot of resources uselessly. We have not succeeded in reducing cannabinoid
trafficking. On the contrary, it's increasing," said Roberti, who has been
combating the mafia for more than three decades.”