(QCOSTARICA) One of the leaders of the third most powerful criminal organizations in the world, dedicated to the trafficking of drugs, arms and humans, had taken refuge in Costa Rica.
Anotion Iovine, a powerful Italian Camorrista and one of the bosses of the Casalesi clan from Casal di Principe in the province of Caserta between Naples and Lazio, has been confirmed to have visited Costa Rica on numerous occasions.
The mafia boss, nicknamed “o’ninno” (a Napolitan expression for kid or baby), because of his baby face when he was made a capo (boss) at a very young age, turned state witness and is collaborating with investigators in Naples, according to the Italian media, answering the questions of anti-mafia prosecutors earlier this month, La Repubblica wrote.
According to a report by the Diario Extra, Iovine was last in Costa Rica in 2014. The Extra confirmed the visit with the immigration service, Iovine entering the country by way of Paso Canoas, at the Panama border.
Immigration records indicate that on only one occasion did the mobster enter the country by way of the Juan Santamaria (San Jose) airport, but no record of his departure exists, indicating that he could have been in the country for more than eight months before leaving either by land or sea.
The Extra says they tried to contact Mariano Figueres, the head of the Direccion Inteligencia y Seguridad (DIS), Costa Rica’s intelligence service, but a spokesperson informed that he (Mariano) would be out of the country for eight days.
In recent months in the country, authorities have disclosed arrests of subjects linked to international criminal organizations, which have their bases in Costa Rica for its ease of entry (undetected by borders) and low penalties for the legal system if they are eventually caught.
Areas such as Escazu, Santa Ana, San Carlos, Alajuela and Heredia are preferred by foreigners who came to the country in order to hide not only from authorities in their native country, but also from enemies and others associated with organized crime.
With regards to Iovine, the Diario says that no police body in the country has information on the fugitive.
Iovine has been on the “most wanted list” of the Italian ministry of the Interior since 1996 and since 2002 for murder and other crimes, until his arrest in November 2010. On August 10, 1999, an international warrant was issued against him, to be arrested for extradition. He is close to Francesco Schiavone alias Sandokan, the head of the Casalesi clan.
He was sentenced to life on June 19, 2008, after 10-year trial—named the Spartacus Trial—against 36 members of the Casalesi clan charged with a string of murders and other crimes. When still a fugitive boss, Iovine and his close ally, Michele Zagaria, were considered to be in charge of the Casalesi clan. Zagara was arrested December 7, 2011.
Antonio Iovine is considered the ‘minister of garbage’ of the Camorra. In Campania, the Camorra controls the entire cycle of garbage disposal, running the dumps, waste transport companies and other businesses, raking in US$880 million a year, according to Anti-mafia prosecutors. Investigators suspect Antonio Iovine’s ability to evade arrest is thanks in part to mob infiltration of local government.
He is regarded as the business mind of the organization. Iovine is also considered to be the one behind the clan’s expansion beyond the boundaries of Campania. Investigators believe that Iovine was the Camorra’s deal-maker, recycling the illicit revenue from illegal activities such as drug trafficking and protection rackets, into the legal economy, in particular the cement business.