ETA Traffics in Colombian Cocaine, According to the Italian Writer Saviano

By Dialogo
February 16, 2010

The Basque armed separatist organization ETA traffics in Colombian cocaine to
raise money and buy arms, the Italian journalist and writer Roberto Saviano has
affirmed in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

“I have reason to believe, for example, that ETA members are buying cocaine
from Colombian drug traffickers, transporting it to Portugal, and from there
bringing it into the Basque Country,” said the author of the bestseller Gomorra
[Gomorrah] about the Camorra, the Neapolitan mob.

The Basque armed separatist organization, considered responsible for the
deaths of 828 people in more than forty years of violence for the independence of
the Basque Country (in northern Spain), is in contact with the Italian mafia and the
FARC Colombian guerrilla group in order to engage in this traffic, Saviano added in
an interview with El Mundo.

“Preparing attacks, acquiring arms, hiding fugitives from justice, providing
financial help to the families of imprisoned ETA members ... this is all very
expensive,” he said.

“From the moment that ETA began to traffic in drugs, the reason for the
group’s existence changed. Engaging in politics by taking up arms is no longer their
priority. What is important for them now is the ‘business’ pure and simple,”
commented Saviano, who still lives with bodyguards for fear of a mob

The seizure in the Basque Country at the end of January of packages of
cocaine ready for sale, in the residence of an alleged ETA member, is “new and
striking evidence that ETA traffics in drugs,” according to Saviano.

Saviano also cites the testimony of a repentant Italian mobster, Raffaele
Spinello, according to whom ETA reached an agreement with the Camorra in 1999: “ETA
agreed to use members of its organization to move cocaine in exchange for receiving
arms from the Neapolitan mob (...).”

“The terrorists obtained the cocaine through their contacts with the
Colombian guerrillas and took responsibility for getting the drugs to Italy,”
according to Saviano.