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Alleged mafia fugitive posted cooking videos to YouTube, leading to arrest

Enlarge / Bolognese sauce and spaghetti.

Getty Images | Westend61

An alleged mafia fugitive hiding from Italian police in the Dominican Republic was arrested after being spotted showing off his cooking skills in instructional videos he posted on YouTube, according to news reports.

Marc Feren Claude Biart, an alleged member of the ‘Ndrangheta criminal organization based in southern Italy, reportedly hid his face in the cooking videos but failed to hide his tattoos, leading to his identification. The man had been hiding since law enforcement “ordered Biart’s arrest in 2014 for criminal drug trafficking on behalf of the ‘Ndrangheta’s Cacciola clan,” according to The Washington Post.

The 53-year-old Biart “was always careful to hide his face in his Italian cooking tutorials, filming the YouTube videos while laying low from police on a sandy beach in the Caribbean,” the Post wrote. It’s not clear whether the videos are still online, but Biart and his wife “appeared to have uploaded several cooking tutorials for Italian recipes to YouTube, including ones where Biart’s tattoos were visible,” the Post wrote. The 53-year-old Biart didn’t keep his recipes secret but “was always careful to hide his face in his Italian cooking tutorials, filming the YouTube videos while laying low from police on a sandy beach in the Caribbean,” the Post wrote.

The arrest and YouTube aspect of the story were confirmed by Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, which helped in the investigation. “Authorities located [Biart] after recognising his tattoos in a YouTube video,” Interpol wrote on Twitter today.

Extradited to Italy

The BBC, The Guardian, and other news organizations also wrote about the arrest and YouTube cooking videos, attributing the information to a statement from Italian authorities.

“The alleged member of the ‘Ndrangheta crime gang was arrested in the Dominican Republic last Wednesday and has now been extradited back to Italy,” the BBC wrote yesterday. Biart “was wanted by police for allegedly trafficking cocaine into the Netherlands on behalf of the Cacciola clan of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia,” the BBC article also said.

Before being caught, Biart “led a quiet life in Boca Chica, in the Dominican Republic, with the local Italian expat community considering him a ‘foreigner,’ police said in a statement on Monday,” The Guardian wrote.

“He was betrayed by a YouTube channel in which he showed off his Italian cooking skills,” the article continued. “The videos never showed his face, but the tattoos on his body gave him away, [police] said.”

Bigger than Cosa Nostra

Biart’s arrest was part of a larger investigation into the criminal organization. Francesco Pelle, a “wheelchair-bound ‘Ndrangheta boss linked to Germany’s infamous Duisburg mafia killings, has been arrested in Portugal, Italian police said Monday,” according to a story by the AFP news agency that was published on Barron’s.

Pelle was reportedly found in a clinic, being treated for COVID-19. “Pelle, 44, was on the Italian interior ministry’s ‘most dangerous fugitives’ list, after having been given a life sentence for murder,” the AFP wrote.

The ‘Ndrangheta has a “secretive culture and brutal enforcement of codes of silence [that] have made it very difficult to penetrate,” the AFP said. The group “has extended its reach across all parts of the world, surpassing Sicily’s Cosa Nostra as Italy’s biggest mafia organisation.”

The ‘Ndrangheta “controls most of the cocaine entering Europe” but is now the subject of “the biggest mafia trial Italy has seen in decades,” the BBC wrote. “There are 355 alleged mobsters and corrupt officials who have been charged after a long investigation into the ‘Ndrangheta group.” Charges include murder, drug trafficking, extortion, and money laundering.


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