The Costa Concordia, the vessel that capsized in 2012 killing 32 passengers on board, was used by the mafia to smuggle cocaine, Italian investigators have said.
Prosecutors claims that during an investigation into the ‘Ndrangheta mafia, which led to 20 arrests, police discovered a smuggling network that took drugs from the Caribbean and Latin America into Europe – using cruise ships, according to a report in The Times.
The ‘Ndrangheta now has a business empire which includes restaurants, public works contracts and property, reportedly funded by drug smuggling.
According to court documents cited by La Repubblica, two mobsters discussed “the ship that made us look ridiculous all around the world” in an overheard conversation. The prosecutors believe the men “were referring to the Costa Concordia and the famous shipwreck of January 13, 2012”.
It was not clear whether the ship had been used to smuggle cocaine during the cruise when it hit rocks off the coast of Giglio.
Police spying on an online chat between two gangsters, who used the women’s names Olivia and Giulia as codenames, recorded them discussing a large quantity of cocaine they believe was destined for the Costa Concordia.
The smugglers also allegedly used cruise ships operated by MSC and Norwegian Cruise Line, investigators discovered.
A spokesman for the ship’s operator, Costa Crociere, declined to comment.
In March, five staff with Norwegian Cruise Line were arrested in Florida after allegedly smuggling 5kg of cocaine from Honduras in their underwear on board the Norwegian Sun.