An Italian man who allegedly served in a key supporting role for the Sicilian mafia's criminal expansion into the United States was arrested at his Miami Beach home Wednesday morning on federal money laundering and other charges.
The FBI's arrest of Roberto Settineri capped a three-year international investigation into his alleged unlawful enterprises with the Cosa Nostra in Italy, the Gambino crime family in New York and three other suspects in South Florida, federal authorities said.
Now in custody in Miami, Settineri was also charged Wednesday in Italy along with 20 others belonging to the Palermo mafia family, Santa Maria di Gesu. The Italian charges: extortion, drug-trafficking, attempted murder and other offenses.
A senior official with the Italian National Police said Settineri's arrest -- coupled with the apprehension of top figures in the Sicilian mafia -- marked a twin blow to the crime family in Italy and its affiliates in the United States. The official noted that the collaborative crackdown has broken up the Palermo syndicate, severing its links to the United States.
"The mafia in Italy could live through the work of Settineri in the United States," said Raffaele Grassi, the senior Italian official. "That's why he was so dangerous."
Settineri, 41, and Daniel Dromerhauser, 39, of Miami, were arrested Wednesday and charged with conspiracy, money laundering and obstruction of justice stemming from a recent undercover sting operation in South Florida. A third suspect named in the indictment, Enrique Ros, 33, of Pembroke Pines, remains at large.
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