Investigators may have cornered the Sacra Corona Unita (the Mafia from the Puglia region), and decimated its clans, but in the face of an organization that has taken so many lives, the guard must definitely not be lowered. The documents from the investigation that led to the recent arrest of eighteen people by the Brindisi Police and Carabinieri on orders of the magistrates in Puglia, serve as a warning. Those documents, which WikiLao obtained, illustrate part of the recent, and very bloody, history of the Sacra Corona Unita.
The lengthy investigation has thrown light on four murders, four executions.
It was fifteen years ago, in the spring, that Mafia justice struck Antonio Molfetta, known as ‘Tony the Camel’, who wasn’t spared the ultimate humiliation: before being riddled with bullets, he was hit in the face with a blunt object, as if to terrorize him and to make him understand that his end was only a few seconds away.
Molfetta - who had already been labeled a drug addict – was considered a police informer, a “traitor.” He had been seen driving a car behind the vehicle of a plain-clothes police inspector who worked in Mesagne. Molfetta's body was found four months after he had gone missing, on October 8, 1998, when a certain Gaetano Suma “showed up at the Carabinieri station in CeglieMessapica, reporting that inside his abandoned trullo (small local traditional house) in Rapide Cioccia, he had found a cadaver in an advanced state of decay.” The Carabinieri went to the place indicated by Suma, and identified Molfetta thanks to his driving license, found in his jacket. He met a terrible end: on his skull, which was found with the jaw missing, was “bone damage compatible with a hole caused by a gunshot.” His femur and tibia were found along the dirt road leading to the trullo, as if Molfetta had been cut into pieces.
The killing of Nicolai Lippolis, instead, is proof and confirmation that borders don't exist for organized crime. This man was killed overseas, in Bar, Montenegro, one of the regular retreats that the gangsters from Puglia use in the Balkans, where they often find hideouts, connivance, and opportunity.
Having fled across the Adriatic to avoid capture, he was guilty, among other things, of not having kept the mammasantissima, the top bosses of the Sacra Corona Unita, informed of what he was up to.
He thought he was safe and sound, evidently. But at some point between December 1999 and September 2000, he was tracked down by the hit men of the bosses of the Sacra Corona Unita. He was to be punished for having repeatedly broken the rules of the organization, by selling drugs without permission (perhaps even stealing a few kilos of heroin from the dons), taking drugs himself, and even worse, for being responsible for a terrible insult to Marcello Cincinnato: he had had his car, a brand new Audi 80, stolen.
According to the investigation, Cincinnato and Giuseppe “Peppo” Leo, ordered the murder, stipulating a contract withTommaso Belfiore and Eugenio Carbone (who has since died). These two in turn, gave the job to Antonio Epicoco who, having found Lippolis' hiding place, lured him to a house where he attacked him with a pick axe. To make sure he was dead he also shot him repeatedly, before burying him in a ditch, like in a Scorsese film.
“On October 15, 2009, the Central Headquarters of the Criminal Police – Office for International Police Cooperation – reported that on October 7, 2009, in the town of Bar, a dead male body, that had been buried for 5 or 6 years, was found on private property. On the cadaver were found holes caused by a firearm, on the head, chest, and left shoulder blade.”
Tommaso Marseglia, on the other hand, was killed on July 22, 2001, a few months after being released from prison. Having served a long sentence for crimes against person and property, he was killed with two big slugs shot from a 12-calibre rifle, while he was riding a motor-scooter. This included a deathblow to the head. The boss of San Vito dei Normanni, CarloCatanna, also known as “Caccavella”, is accused of the crime. Marseglia had slapped him in front of other members of the Sacra Corona Unita, after having done the same thing to one of the Don's proteges. The murder victim, having accepted a meeting with Catanna, which was arranged over the phone after corresponding with written notes, “warned him not to speak to him with an irreverent tone, and not to get involved in the matter.” He only wanted to ascertain who had misused a property he owned at Latiano, that had become a repository of stolen cars and motorcycles, while Marseglia was in jail (a circumstance that had already been referred to him by a cellmate when he was in jail at Avellino). The two exchanged epithets. Catanna, who believed that all of Marseglia's problems could be attributed to the fact that he did not belong to his clan, yelled “you are a nobody!” at him. The other replied in tone, and slapped him twice across the face, sending him falling to the ground. Unforgivable. Catanna decreed his death.
Carlo Gagliardi and Franceso Campana, on the other hand, are accused of the death of Antonio D'Amico, murdered on September 9, 2001 in Brindisi. The victim was the brother of Massimo D'Amico, known as “Tiger Man”, who had to be punished first, because he had lured clan members away from the two of them – with “the intent of isolating them completely from the leadership,” something he succeeded in doing because “all of them, by hook or by crook, passed over into his group” , and second, because he then became a turncoat.
Gagliardi did not return to prison from a special leave permit, Campana escaped from house arrest, and together they went by motorcycle to the crowded Brindisi dock the evening of September 9, 2001. Armed with a hunting rifle, Campana killed D'Amico in front of everyone, “confident, as was Gagliardi, that no one would tell.” In fact, the many people questioned by the police during the investigation “declared that they had heard two loud booms, and believed them to be fireworks from the localfesta, or celebration, that was taking place in the nearby Casale neighborhood.”
That is how ruthless and summary justice is done in the land of the Sacra Corona Unita.
October 14, 2013