Italian military police arrested seven Gambian migrants in a sting operation in southern Italy on Tuesday morning, charging them with the sale of narcotics including to minors.
The sting operation, titled “VAR Bay”, is believed to have broken up a major drug dealing ring in the area of Baia Verde, Gallipoli, in the southern region of Apulia. Along with the seven arrests, the carabinieri police that carried out the operation have seized a stash of hashish, cocaine, and marijuana.
The carabinieri have warrants for the arrest of another 18 alleged immigrant accomplices who are presently still at large.
The military operation, which began on July 13, involved film surveillance of the activities of the drug dealers in four piazzas along the seafront of Gallipoli’s “Green Bay” in preparation for Tuesday’s raid. The investigations were coordinated by the Deputy Prosecutor of the District Anti-mafia Directorate of Lecce, Valeria Farina Valaori.
According to reports, the men were all in their 20s, and would either all be Gambian, or six Gambians and one Senegalese.
Interior minister Matteo Salvini, who has been on the front lines of Italy’s crackdown on illegal immigration, praised the Italian police for their work and promised his continued efforts to stave off this type of illegal activity.
“I am working to put and end to this rot, send these delinquents home, and keep any more like them from arriving,” Salvini tweeted Tuesday, adding he has no intention of stopping. In a separate Facebook post, he also said he would wager that no mainstream media outlet would cover the news because of it is politically incorrect.
I Carabinieri hanno fermato a Gallipoli (Lecce) sette IMMIGRATI richiedenti asilo, gambiani e senegalesi, per spaccio di DROGA, venduta anche a minorenni.
Sto lavorando per fermare questo schifo, rimandare a casa questi delinquenti e non farne arrivare altri.
Io non mi fermo! pic.twitter.com/0yRNkkhHEx
— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) August 7, 2018
Certain representatives of the Catholic Church in Italy including bishops and religious orders have been waging war on Mr Salvini for his efforts to rein in illegal immigration, comparing him to the antichrist and Satan.
Mr Salvini, who is a Catholic himself, has insisted he is simply watching out for the good of the Italian people, which is his primary concern.
Recent polls found that Salvini is currently the most trusted politician in the country.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome