An investigation into a drugs’ smuggling and extortion ring in western Romania has turned up an unusual detail about the way mobsters operate and carve up territory between them.
The probe conducted by the Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism revealed Romanian mobsters organized a “congress” in September where they used the Italian Mafia model to divide up turf, and create a system where people are intimidated, threatened and abducted, pay protection taxes, and links are created to law enforcement, Digi24 reported.
The report said prosecutors were probing a major cocaine smuggling ring in Timisoara in September when they learned mobsters were meeting at a “congress” to “approve” a foreign business investment and to establish protection taxes.
An unnamed foreign investor who was planning to open a number of casinos in major Romanian cities asked mobsters to protect his future business, on the grounds that “this kind of business doesn’t operate in normal conditions without the protection of mobster groups in main cities,” a statement said.
The statement said that mobsters from Iasi, Sibiu, Arad and Timisoara participated at the meeting, including Lucian Boncu, who’s been charged with cocaine trafficking.
Pressalert.ro reported that Boncu found out that there were plans to open two casinos in Timisoara and wanted 5,000 euros protection tax to be paid monthly. He boasted that he could control the city with 50 people who would intimidate the ”police, the intelligence services” and everyone else.
Prosecutors are investigating Boncu and 33 others in Timisoara for allegedly setting up a criminal group, kidnapping and blackmail.
They said the group kidnapped people and intimidated others to withdraw criminal complaints. One case involved a man who had won 80,000 lei at a casino but had not been given all the money. After he asked the casino to pay up, he was allegedly kidnapped, beaten and sexually threatened and forced to give back the money he had won.