"Drug traffickers are merchants of death".
MAFIA DRUG LORD
(gets easy street in Canada)
Jailed drug lord faces charges in Italy
By Colin Freeze, Crime Reporter
Globe & Mail, Apr 12, 2003
Convicted drug lord Alfonso Caruana was arrested on new drug-trafficking charges from Italy yesterday, just as he is becoming eligible to be paroled from the 18-year Canadian jail sentence he was handed three years ago. Convicted in 2000 of being part of a conspiracy to ship tonnes of cocaine for the Italian Mafia, Mr. Caruana is, like all first-time, non-violent offenders, eligible for what is called accelerated parole after one-sixth of his sentence has been served. A recent court ruling scuttled plans to keep him in jail until at least 2006.
While the RCMP says that Mr. Caruana may soon face extradition to Italy on the new charges, he will be able to appeal any extradition attempt.
Within weeks, however, he may be let out of his minimum-security jail. "We'll be dealing with [his parole review] in a couple of weeks, or even earlier than that," said John Wilson, a National Parole Board spokesman.
Most non-violent, first-time offenders get accelerated release, but some mob watchers find that shocking, given the multimillion-dollar, cocaine-trafficking enterprises that Mr. Caruana has been convicted of taking part in. "In general, our parole board doesn't consider drug traffickers violent offenders," said Antonio Nicaso, a Toronto-based organized-crime expert.
"They pay more attention to domestic violence than drug traffickers. They don't realize one thing: Drug traffickers are merchants of death."
Mr. Nicaso, who was in touch with Italian police yesterday, said the new charges against Mr. Caruana allege that he helped ship 150 kilograms of cocaine into Spain.
In 1998, Mr. Caruana was arrested at his home in Woodbridge, Ont., and accused of being the mastermind of a Sicilian crime family and of involvement in a huge cocaine-trafficking operation. RCMP Chief Superintendent Ben Soave said at the time that "if organized crime was a hockey game, Mr. Caruana would be [hockey superstar Wayne] Gretzky."
Two years later, Mr. Caruana was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his role in the huge cocaine-importation conspiracy.
Because Mr. Caruana was considered a mobster, Corrections Canada had originally said he was not eligible for accelerated-parole review, meaning he was supposed to be imprisoned until 2006, at least. In February, however, another convict successfully challenged a law that seeks to prevent organized-crime figures from getting accelerated parole. That could affect the sentences of Mr. Caruana and other convicted gangsters. The Feb. 28 Quebec Court of Appeal ruling in the case of Michel DeLuca means that judges have to be very explicit about whom they consider a mobster if Corrections Canada seeks to deny someone accelerated parole. "What's happening to us now is that unless a court says someone has gang affiliations right at the beginning, we can't assume it, we can't use it to prevent APR," said Corrections Canada spokeswoman Michelle Pilon-Santilli. She said she didn't know how many prisoners are affected, but "in terms of our numbers, were looking at it, but it's a very small number."
The RCMP said in a statement yesterday that Mr. Caruana was arrested at the minimum-security Fenbrook Institution on an extradition warrant to Italy, where he is wanted in connection with a "Mafia-type conspiracy" centred on drug trafficking.
CANADA'S PM SHIPS COCAINE
DRUG WAR AND PEACE
THE ENEMY WITHIN, by Robert Kennedy
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