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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Super Cartel Trafficker & Art Dealer Nicknamed 'Banksy' Arrested in Mexico, Extradited to Italy

"Socalj" for Borderland Beat

A wanted Italian drug trafficker known as ‘Banksy,’ who was a partner of Kinahan ally and Super Cartel figure Raffaele Imperiale, has been arrested in Mexico and extradited back to his native Italy.

Andrea Deiana, who had been on the run since May 2022, which he had partly financed by obtaining an autographed lithograph of "The Flower Thrower."

The famous work of street art by the renowned British graffiti artist 'Banksy' first appeared in the West Bank in 2003 and is considered one of his most iconic images.

Operation Arkan

The 42-year-old, from Terracina, south of Rome, was the target of an investigation conducted by the Italian District Anti-Mafia Directorate and the Milan Flying Squad that led to the arrest of 31 people on charges of international drug trafficking.

The investigation, with strong transnational cooperation coordinated by Eurojust and Europol with authorities of Holland, Lithuania, and Spain intercepted numerous encrypted chats on the EncroChat and SkyEcc encrypted platforms.

The organization's members did not have direct meetings and they cleaned up the cars and areas used for drug production and storage on a daily basis. In Milan, 8 cars with electronically controlled hidden stash compartments were seized as well as anti-spying devices. The group often also packaged dummy blocks of CDs and DVDs and loaded them into cars to see if they would be stopped and searched.

During what was called the ‘Arkan’ operation, which began in 2019, a total of 36 kilos of cocaine, 87 kilos of hashish, 32 kilos of ketamine, 9 kilos of marijuana, and €244,000 in cash were seized. The operation resulted in sentences of more than 150 years in prison combined for those convicted. 

In Carimate, there was a "kitchen" for producing ketamine. Two of the gang are intercepted chatting while preparing to process the drug. "We had to get the pans. Let's take latex gloves. What more do we need? Let's also take a mask," and "Let's do three laps."

Around 50 locations were searched throughout Italy and additional countries including a Hells Angels clubhouse outside of Milan. Two HA members were involved in transporting the hashish imported by the brokers.

When one of the couriers ended up in prison, having been found with 3 kilos of cocaine, and was released within a few days, Manuel Zucca, Deiana's right-hand man, suspected that he may have decided to "sing" with the investigators. Zucca began to stalk and stake out the man's family, and wait to see when his van was arriving at a local market. In reality, the paranoia is unjustified, as house arrest was granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deiana, who used the nickname ‘Banksy’ in EncroChat and SkyECC messages between the narcos, had been sentenced in absentia to 16 years and 8 months in prison. Other names from the intercepted chats included Obi-Wan Kenobi, Pinocchio, Milly, Grandma Maria, and Nestor. Deiana even used 'Banksylife81' for his bank account passwords. He was born in 1981.

One of Deiana's customers, also charged in the investigation, is the well-known digital and web entrepreneur Alberto Genovese. 

He led a party lifestyle in Milan until 2020 when he was arrested and put on trial for raping two models at a party who were drugged with ketamine and pink cocaine. He is suspected of more rapes, some taking place over several days in a locked and guarded room during drug-fueled binges. He preferred young women ages 18-24 years old, who were willing to take drugs.

The drugs were seized from his residence and records showed Genovese and Deiana discussing the delivery of 100 grams of the substances.

Art Dealer/Money Launderer

At the time of Operation Arkan, in 2019, Deiana was the co-owner of the 3035 Art Gallery in Amsterdam, Holland having moved there nearly 10 years before. The trendy art gallery hosted numerous exhibits where he had invested part of the proceeds from his drug trafficking in purchasing the Banksy work. 

Inside 3035 Art Gallery.

In an interview given to a Dutch newspaper, he defined himself as passionate about street art and contemporary music. But Italian authorities paint a different picture stating, "without any declared income in Italy, [he] started the gallery from scratch in 2018" and reported that the Banksy lithograph appears in one of the fictitious sales created to launder drug money through the gallery.

A system included two logistics companies, in Italy, which purchased artworks for a 2% commission. The trick used was the inflated sales of works by unknown artists, or of multiples, posters, and lithographs sent to the gallery in Milan.

Fugitive Camorra clan leader Vincenzo Amato, was arrested in Spain in 2022.

The idea of ​​recycling through works of art was apparently born from Deiana, as emerges from an encrypted chat with fugitive Coluccia Clan head Salento Vincenzo Amato. He wrote in 2020, that with the paintings "you can clean money without paying expenses, on the contrary, earning". Amato was arrested in May 2022 in Spain and sentenced to 19 years in prison in Italy. He had been included on the list of the 100 Most Dangerous Fugitives by Italian Polizia di Stato.

Deiana dreamed big messaging Amato "We have to take everything on ourselves. City by city. We have to fill Italy with smoke and everyone has to buy from us."

Authorities conducted a search of the art gallery and it was seized.

The original Banksy artwork in the West Bank was created in 2003.

Banksy Lithograph

Deiana had insured the signed lithography for €2 million and entrusted the piece to a Milanese gallery owner "to monetize its economic value" and support “the costs of being on the run,” according to Italian chief prosecutor Marcello Viola. When Milan police busted the drug operation in May 2022, Deiana went on the run to Mexico.

In chats exchanged on the encrypted telephones, he boasted, "the Banksy is worth a million and a half...I made a great deal to clean the money, you clean money without paying expenses, rather earning..."

In September 2023 (through lawyer Gioacchino Genchi) Deiana explained that he had entrusted the Banksy shortly before the 2022 arrests to Pier Giulio Lanza, the manager of a Milan art gallery, the Dynamic Art Museum.

The lithograph was bought for €500,000, and insured at the gallery in Holland for €2 million. Lanza confirms that he bought it (from the Cuban model girlfriend of Deiana) for €200,000, plus a future balance of investments of digital NFTs, that never took off.

Later, learning of Deiana's criminal issues, Lanza sold Bansky's work for €250,000 to two Swiss collectors. Who now, are waiting for compensation in civil cases, but made the piece available to the Milan evidentiary seizure.

The lithograph of 'The Flower Thrower' has been seized by the Italian police from the gallery in Milan.

Bansky's signed lithograph was produced from the famous mural painted in Jerusalem on the wall between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, "The Flower Thrower" flowers), and long used by the drug trafficker Andrea Deiana as if it were a walking check. Perhaps to be used as a guarantee for the repayment of debt between narcos, as claimed in statements made by Raffaele Imperiale.

Raffaele Imperiale Trafficking Partner

Italian investigators established that Deiana had been involved in the supply of hundreds of kilos of narcotics together with leading members of the Camorra such as Raffaele Imperiale, who is also known as the ‘Van Gogh Boss’ through his own interest in art. Imperiale, who had been one of Italy’s most-wanted fugitives before he was nabbed in Dubai, had been linked to the theft of two paintings from the Van Gogh Museum in 2002.

Deiana had helped Imperiale flee to Dubai. Imperiale had been hiding out in Kyiv, Ukraine, and traveled to Dubai from there. Imperiale, before his own capture in March 2021, advised Deiana to hide out in Mexico. These messages were intercepted by investigators during the EncroChat operation.

According to Italian court statements, the chats showed "That he had provided important support to Imperiale's fugitive status." Furthermore, in August 2020 he wrote: "When my friend was in Europe he was a fugitive and was always with me, we lived in the same house."

And again the investigating judge also notes that Deiana had "constant relationships with local and international criminal circles" and "connections with the world of organized crime in Campania."

In a chat, he also wrote, "I have an agreement with friends in Naples and they are offended if I start working with others with coke."

In Dubai, Imperiale was seen at Daniel Kinahan’s wedding in 2017. The wedding, featuring several other prominent drug traffickers was seen as the formation of the 'Super Cartel' that connected Irish, Italian, Balkan, Dutch, and South American traffickers. Of the cartel, only Daniel Kinahan remains at large.

Imperiale is now a state witness in his native Italy after he was extradited from the UAE. 

He recently offered to surrender a $60-80 million man-made island, off the coast of Dubai to help reduce his sentence. He had used the stolen Van Gogh paintings as a potential bargaining chip before they were seized in Italy.


  1. That’s crazy that Banksy was a drug trafficker this entire time. Makes sense with all the money laundering that goes around with art.

    1. This guy isn’t the real Banksy. He just used the name as a cover.

    2. A lot of money is laundered via art.

    3. It's a lot easier to travel with a $15m Picasso in your luggage than currency or precious metals. Art= Smart.

  2. Any one seen the video smoked out og shadow made of him in a supposedly mexican federal prison 😆 🤣 😂 😹 😆 🤣 foos a jcat talking about he has contras everywhere 😆 🤣 😂 😹 😆 what contras??the drug rehab counselors of the drug rehab hes in?! 😆

    1. Saw it. He's still got suckers duped sending him bread.

  3. Cuadros del doble RR seran... lol

  4. This was an awesome article... THANK YOU!

    Genovese looks like a typical date rapist..

    1. Got bread and dope and still has to rape foos whack ass fuck

  5. The Camorra straight up built a port just to import coke 💀

  6. The so called "flower thrower" is actually based on an unknown Palestinian youth hurling a fully lit molotov bomb at IDF soldiers somewhere in the Erez crossing.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. The real Banksy is just a glorified graffiti vandal. His "art" talent is about as artistic as pet rocks or the current Stanley cup marketing craze.

    1. :( me diste en la realidad

    2. Have you seen Banksy's new Porky Pig tha,tha,thats all folks!" painting?


    hay Banksy que decepción contigo


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