The Ship That Stopped seven,000 Migrants, and Smuggled 700,000 Cigarettes


“We repaired the Libyans’ weapons regardless of the embargo,” explained 1 engineer from the Caprera, in a cellphone contact tapped by the police. “If this will get out, it is a mess.”

The Italian Navy declined to comment — on both this or any other element of the condition.

The smuggling operation on the Caprera took form in the spring of 2018, when sailors from the engineering division of the ship gradually filled a workshop with sacks of cigarettes. The contraband, purchased in Libya, could be offered in Italy for a massive markup by skirting substantial import duties.

A essential piece of proof for investigators are photographs from a farewell celebration in Might for Marco Corbisiero, the ship’s chief engineer, who completed his deployment aboard the Caprera just before the rest of the crew. Images shared on the ship’s WhatsApp group showed a grinning Mr. Corbisiero sitting just before a massive chocolate cake baked in his honor.

Behind him had been a number of sacks of contraband cigarettes.

Text messages and transcripts of cellphone calls tapped by the police later on that 12 months indicate that Mr. Corbisiero, now 44, was a essential figure in the smuggling approach, prosecutors say. Mr. Corbisiero is 1 of the 5 sailors on trial in Brindisi his attorney, Fabrizio Lamanna, explained his consumer had been produced a scapegoat in the situation.

Given that late 2017, financial institution data showed that he acquired tens of 1000’s of bucks from personal persons, like Italian sailors, payments that investigators think had been advance costs for contraband cigarettes. Mr. Corbisiero would have stood to earn just about $120,000 from marketing the cigarettes — about $90,000 far more than they value to invest in in Libya.

The vast majority of cigarettes had been loaded onto the Caprera immediately after Mr. Corbisiero had left the boat. Just before his departure, crew members could very easily move about the workshop wherever the cigarettes had been hidden. By the time the Caprera arrived in Brindisi, the area was so complete of cigarette sacks that the police officers who seized the ship could barely enter it.

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