Vittorio Raso is the boss of the Italian Mafia whom the Spanish police have been hunting for two years. He was arrested in Barcelona and later released by the court and disappeared. Raso, 41, is believed to be one of the leaders of the ‘Ndrangheta criminal group’ from the Calabria region of Italy. He was released after making a video to the judge of the Spanish High Court Audiencia Nacional.
The court said that at the time of the first trial, it is believed that the suspect was only wanted for racketeering, and only two hours after his release, Lasso was still the boss of the Mafia. The judge in charge of the case issued a new arrest warrant. Police sources pointed out that the court received extensive police reports explaining who Raso was and a copy of the European arrest warrant issued by Italy. The country later sent more information about the suspect’s connection with organized crime, but by then Raso had been released from a detention facility in Barcelona.
On October 12, the National Police News Department widely disseminated information about the arrests. The criminal suspect is also defined as Fanguilo, “the main figure of the Calabrian organization, whose criminal activities are mainly carried out through drug and weapon trafficking.” The next day, Lasso appeared in front of High Court Judge Alejandro Abascal via a video link. A spokesperson for the Spanish Central Criminal Court said that the European arrest warrant at the time only mentioned the allegations of extortion, which is why he was prosecuted and released.
Police sources urge that they post a three-page report detailing the 15 and 20-year extortion sentences sought and an additional 20 years for drug trafficking against Raso, who was described in the report as a member of the “Ndrangheta”. Two hours after his release, Italian police sent additional information via Sirene, the information exchange system for EU Member States, and attached a second document indicating that Raso was also wanted for drug trafficking as one of the leaders of the ‘Ndrangheta. The judge issued a new arrest warrant, but by then Raso had left his cell at the City of Justice in Barcelona. “Everyone’s looking for him. The houses where he stayed were searched, but no trace of him is found, ”one police source lamented.
Raso used to live in a luxurious villa in Barcelona with sea views. In July of this year, the police learned that he was planning to use a fake ID to take a boat to Brazil. The investigation against him started in October 2018 and is a common case between Spanish and Italian police. He was originally located in Malaga on the Costa del Sol, Spain, and was later found living in Barcelona. When he was arrested, he was carrying a fake ID.
He is wanted on two extortion counts: one occurred in 2012-2016 and the other in June 2016, according to police sources. The victims took out large loans from a criminal group (between € 40,000 and 50,000) and were asked to pay monthly interest of 10%. The payments were allegedly enforced by Raso using violence. He is also accused of trading hashish between Italy and Spain. Following the arrest in Barcelona, Italian police raided the homes of Raso’s associates in Turin and found 360,000 euros, over 13 kilograms of drugs and various weapons. According to figures published by the Catanzaro prosecutor’s office in the Calabrian capital, “Ndrangheta” is the most powerful mafia in Italy and one of the most international “troops”.