ROME – To traders at the famous Royal FloraHolland flower market near Amsterdam, Vincenzo Crupi was just another businessman helping to make the Netherlands the largest exporter of cut flowers in the world.
To the police, Crupi was a mafia suspect allegedly concealing drugs worth millions of dollars alongside fragrant bouquets he trucked to Italy. By last year they were hot on his scent. So they bugged his offices at the flower market.
In conversations recorded by hidden microphones and cameras, the 52-year-old Italian was heard speaking at length about mafia affairs, according to previously unpublished details of the investigation contained in 1,700 pages of Italian court documents reviewed by Reuters.
Crupi was heard allegedly discussing drug deals, arms shipments and a lethal power struggle between mafia members in Canada. “They are killing each other over there,” he said in one recorded telephone call after returning from a trip to Toronto.
Last September, at least two decades after Crupi began working at the flower market, police swooped while the Italian was on a trip home, arresting him in the dead of night south of Rome. Prosecutors will seek trials against Crupi later this year for drug trafficking and mafia membership, judicial sources said.