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22 June 2009 - Media release

INTERPOL praises Venezuela's arrest of one of Italy's most wanted as model of international police collaboration

LYON, France – The police authorities in Venezuela and Italy have been congratulated by INTERPOL for their ‘exemplary’ collaboration with INTERPOL following the arrest in Caracas of Salvatore Miceli, a reputed senior member of the Sicilian Mafia wanted in Italy for alleged drug trafficking and organized crime, and who was the subject of an INTERPOL wanted persons Red Notice.

Miceli, aged 63, had been under surveillance in Caracas by Venezuelan police working closely with INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in Rome and with the Carabinieri before he was seized in Venezuela’s capital, on 20 June. His arrest, on the basis of a Red Notice requested by Italy, followed close co-ordination between INTERPOL’s NCBs in Rome and Caracas and its Command and Co-ordination Centre and Fugitive Investigative Support unit at its General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon. 

With Miceli suspected of brokering drug deals between organized crime networks and international drug cartels, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said the arrest of one of Italy’s 30 most wanted fugitives highlighted the essential role of international police co-operation against organized crime.

“This case clearly demonstrates the value of INTERPOL’s global operational services and the need for countries to think globally in the fight against transnational crime,” Mr Noble said.

“The request by INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau in Rome for a Red Notice to be published for Miceli ensured that police worldwide were alerted and Venezuelan authorities could therefore take the necessary measures to locate and arrest him, working with their Italian counterparts.”

“Both Venezuela and Italy are therefore to be congratulated for their actions in Miceli’s arrest, which will seriously undermine a close network of transnational organized crime groups,” added the head of INTERPOL.

Red Notices are placed in INTERPOL’s central database which can be queried by any of its 187 member countries. They can also be added to foreign law enforcement databases and border lookout systems.

Many INTERPOL member countries view a Red Notice as the basis for the provisional arrest of a wanted person with a view to their extradition.

Venezuelan authorities have said they are now working with Italian authorities to deport Miceli as soon as possible.