Page last updated at 10:03 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 11:03 UK

Canada expels Italian 'mobster'

Funeral cortege of two men shot dead in a 'Ndrangheta blood feud in the Calabrian town of San Luca
Dozens have died during 'Ndrangheta blood feuds

One of Italy's most-wanted fugitives and the alleged head of the Calabrian mafia, the 'Ndrangheta, has been extradited to Rome from Canada.

Giuseppe Coluccio, 42, was arrested on 7 August in Toronto, where he was living in a luxury flat.

Mr Coluccio, who is accused of mafia association, extortion and drug trafficking, arrived at Rome's Ciampino airport early on Wednesday.

He has been to taken to a high-security prison in the capital.

Mr Coluccio has been on the run since 2005, when he left the country to avoid arrest. He is alleged to have played a key role in the international trafficking of cocaine and heroin between the US and Europe.

"Honoured Society", based in Calabria region of south Italy
Origins thought to date back to shortly after Italian unification in 1861
Group grew as reaction to richer class from north
Operates clan-based power structure based on blood families
Accused of cocaine and weapons smuggling
Estimated to have made 16m euros (10.8m) profits in 2002

When he was tracked down in Toronto, living in a skyscraper overlooking Lake Ontario, he was reported to have Can$1.5m ($1.4m; 750,000) in cash, travellers cheques and jewels in his possession.

Italian officials have warned that the Calabrian-based 'Ndrangheta mafia - based on blood ties between interlinked families - poses a greater threat than both the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the Camorra, centred around the city of Naples.

The clan's violent activities spilled beyond Italy's borders last year, when six Italians were shot dead in the German city of Duisburg.

The bulk of Europe's cocaine is reported to pass through channels controlled by the 'Ndrangheta, which has offshoots and links with crime groups in South America, Canada, Australia and eastern Europe.

A mafia family feud spills over
16 Aug 07 |  Europe
Who are the Calabrian mafia?
20 Feb 08 |  Europe

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