Black Axe mafia: Italian police arrest 30 Nigerian suspected gang members

Italian police have carried out raids across the country, arresting some 30 people suspected of operating for the Nigerian Black Axe mafia syndicate.

Police say they face about 100 charges including drug and people trafficking, prostitution and internet fraud.

The gang allegedly used the Bitcoin cryptocurrency to carry out clandestine financial transactions on the dark web.

Black Axe emerged from Nigeria in the 1970s, where they carried out rape, mutilation, and ritual murders.

They went on to build a powerful international network.”There is evidence that the members had a direct connection with the Nigerian gang, drawing on the same vocabulary, symbols and affiliation rituals,” Italian police said.

Those arrested are accused of using Bitcoins on the dark web to buy the details of cloned credit cards, which were used for online shopping sprees.

The arrests took place in 14 provinces across the country and included the Black Axe’s alleged leader in Italy – a 35-year-old man who lived in L’Aquila, in the central Abruzzo region, Reuters news agency reported.

“This proves the ability of the judiciary and police forces to fight against old and new mafia groups which are trying to extend their criminal reach and expand their business,” Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said in a statement.

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