Italian Police on Tuesday arrested 16 people as it smashed a Nigerian mafia drug ring in the northern city of Trento, ANSA News Agency of Italy reported on Wednesday.
The report also said police carried out 20 raids in the regions of Trentino, Veneto and Lombardy in an operation, codenamed ‘Underground.’
Police said the gang controlled the drug trade in Trento.
It added that the gang was based at the back of a Nigerian ethnic goods store in the city of Veneto,Verona, while the drugs were stored in another Veneto city, Vicenza.
Those arrested, according to the Police, move between Trento and Verona using the train.
Police alleged that the trafficking and distribution of the drug was managed by a Nigerian woman, Agho Isoken Tina, aka Mama T, who was assisted by her son and sister-in-law.
Police said the gang used proceeds of prostitution to buy the drug.
Trento Flying Squad Commander, Tommaso Niglio, who led the team that smashed the gang, said many of the pushers were poor asylum seekers, adding that they would often swallow the doses, risking their lives rather than face arrest.
The Police arrested 16 people and seized half a kilogramme of cocaine and heroin during the raid.