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03 Nov 2004 10:45
Alleged Mafia boss Vito Palazzolo had links to Western Cape drug lord Rashied Staggie, the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court heard on Wednesday.
This was testimony from crack police investigator Captain Piet Viljoen, one of a series of witnesses who have been subpoenaed to answer Italian prosecutors’ questions on Palazzolo.
Palazzolo, who lives in South Africa and is now a South African citizen, is being tried in absentia in Italy for involvement in the Mafia.
Viloen, asked whether he had any knowledge of meetings that Palazzolo had with “a notorious drug trafficker” in Cape Town, initially said though he had no problem naming the person, he feared he might be pressed to reveal his sources.
Magistrate Derek Winter said that bridge should be crossed “when we come to it”.
“The drug lord was Rashied Staggie,” Viljoen said.
He said Staggie was currently serving a prison sentence for the theft of guns from a police armoury, but that he had also been convicted many times on drug offences.
Viljoen said he was the author of a June 1998 document entitled Organised Crime Threat in the Western Cape, Vito Palazzolo’s Association.
He wrote this two months after he took over the investigation into Palazzolo. It was a top secret document for senior management in the police force and was written after he had spoken to a number of interested parties in the police and the justice department.
Asked whether it could be inferred from the document that Palazzolo was involved in organised crime, he said: “It was written on information gathered that showed Mr Palazzolo was in this organised structure, and advising the top structure of the police that a full-scale investigation should be launched against Mr Palazzolo and his associates.
“That note, a week after it was sent to head office, was in the possession of Mr Palazzolo.
“So to answer question, F [was Palazzolo involved in organised crime], yes, your honour.” - Sapa
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