The interceptions, the language used by the suspects, the images taken by the investigators to document drug transfers are typical of any investigation into drug trafficking, however in Mario Di Ferro’s in the background are not the crumbling buildings of the Sperone or the dirty squares of the Zen, but Villa Zito, its garden and its roses in the rich heart of the city. There are no people who, to make ends meet, take turns dealing drugs on the street, hiding drugs in their underwear or under some statue of Padre Pio, but a well-known chef who orders doses by phone and then distributes cocaine in his renowned restaurant in a “selected clientele”, including former senator Gianfranco Miccichè, who is not under investigation.
The Chef and the Mafia Investigation
Two faces of Palermo that in the end are the same, a point where black and white fade and become a disturbing gray, like the contiguities from which it feeds. And it is demonstrated by the fact that this investigation, coordinated by the assistant prosecutor Paolo Guido, arose by chance and totally unexpectedly from another, for the mafia, where the famous chef was intercepted because he supposedly had relations with “a prominent exponents of the Cosa nostra” and “arrange a private appointment”.
The “surreal and illogical” conversations with the former senator
Nothing is known about this first branch, protected by investigative secrecy, for the moment, except that the deputy Marzia Sabella works there and that it is in this context that the telephone calls between Di Ferro and Miccichè take place. From the “at times surreal” and “illogical” tenor of their conversations, to use the words of the investigators, it was understood that behind the “departures” of the Forza Italia politician and the number of days he spent outside Palermo, they would have hidden instead requests for cocaine, about fifteen rebuilt by the flying squadron for a few months, from November to April 1, in addition to Miccichè’s birthday, with a banquet organized, of course, by the chef of Villa Zito and the delivery, according to the accusation, of at least 5 doses of coke. According to what emerges from the wiretaps, the employees (but also the customers) of the restaurant would have been perfectly aware of Di Ferro’s “parallel activity”.
Chef Di Ferro returns to house arrest for drug trafficking
The rules of drug trafficking and home deliveries for Miccichè
What the Public Ministry and also the investigating judge Antonella Consiglio, who issued the preventive detention measure, highlights is the systematic nature of some behaviors by the chef, which would prove his intense drug-trafficking activity from his own restaurant. . Every time there is contact between Di Ferro and Miccichè, the chef (who ended up under house arrest) automatically calls the brothers Gioacchino and Salvatore Salamone (also arrested today and who are instead in prison), his supposed suppliers, to simply tell them: “Come closer”, or come to Villa Zito and give me the coke. One of the two shows up at the restaurant on time, he stays there for a few minutes -sometimes he doesn’t even go in and something just passes through the door- and then the “clients” and contractors arrive. In addition, for Miccichè, through the Villa Zito employee Gaetano Vara (subject to the obligation to report to the judicial police), home deliveries would have also been made.
“Gianfrà, I gave it to you a moment ago…”
In one conversation between the chef and the politician, explicit reference is made to “material”, as in another (dated March 31) the two argue and the politician states: “No, you see why you have that thing in your pocket”. and Di Ferro replies: “No, no, I gave it to you, I gave it to you Gianfrà, I gave it to you a while ago”, but Miccichè insists: “What I had was empty”, but the suspect concludes: “I gave it to you, hello asshole, I gave it to you, absolutely!”. The ordinance also contains an ironic phone call, but according to the investigators very eloquent: “I arrive tomorrow – Di Ferro tells the former senator – I’m closed! I’m in Piano Battaglia in the snow… Now I’m sending you a nice photo of where you are for now, there is… full of snow! There is a lot of snow here!” and Miccichè replies: “But where is it full of snow? Even in my house? Do you have news, even in my house? Will I eat at your house? Will I eat at your house? No?” and they both laugh. For the prosecution, the reference to “snow”, also in light of the politician’s response, would refer to cocaine.
The politician’s response: “I have never seen drugs”
“You are five, five days…”
On November 18, Miccichè called Di Ferro at 10:23 p.m. and told him that he was leaving for Milan where he would stay for 5 days. The chef replies: “Oh, well, you’re here for five, five days, it’s fine”, where the number -for the prosecution- would be that of the doses. The two made an appointment for the next day at 1:00 p.m., but exactly one hour after the phone call, at 11:28 p.m., the chef contacted Salvatore Salamone: “Look, tomorrow at one at my house, You will see that there are 10 of us at the table, seated”. but the supposed supplier said that he was not there, hence the call to Salamone’s brother, Gioacchino: “A quarter to one, punctual to my bar, okay?” and the other answered already informed: “What did you tell my brother?” At 1:14 p.m., not seeing Miccichè Di Ferro arrive, he called him and explained: “Yes, I left Sant’Ambrogio now, so what time do you eat? What time do you eat, what time do you eat? What time do you eat? As soon as I arrive, I eat, it’s fine.” At 1:55 p.m., the mobile team immortalized the arrival of the politician at Villa Zito, with the flashing lights on, and also his departure from the club at 3:20 p.m.
“Don’t Forget the Money”
There are 411 contacts between the former senator and the owner of Villa Zito documented by investigators: phone calls and visits to Miccichè’s restaurant were suddenly interrupted with Di Ferro’s first arrest, which took place on april 4. Among the intercepted phone calls is also the one from November 30, which talks about money. It was the chef who called, after having already agreed to have lunch with the former senator, and told him: “Don’t forget the money.” Another reference to money was recorded on January 31. At 4:52 p.m. Miccichè called Di Ferro: “I’m on Via Libertà, can I go now? No? So I’m going home? Damn, what a nuisance, now I’m home for two hours and then I have to get off.” ? I’m going on foot” and then: “But then you take care of it, you send it because I go down on foot at 7” and Di Ferro: “Don’t forget the past” and Miccichè: “Listen, I think a lot more about the future”. Later phone call, the politician clarified: “So today is the 31st, I have no credit that I can withdraw tomorrow, if you want I’ll send you the card and tomorrow morning you can withdraw it yourself. ” Vara went out to make the home delivery and Di Ferro called Gioacchino Salamone, telling him: “No, I’ll see you tomorrow night, because I haven’t done anything…”, in the sense – the prosecutors say – “I haven’t recovered the money”.
“If Iachino comes, you’ll have ten left…”
On December 27, Di Ferro informed Miccichè: “Listen, you see I’m in Palermo today, I’m leaving tomorrow morning and then in the afternoon and then the day one will talk about it” and the other: “Threat”, the chef continued: “So no, I’m telling you because then… you’re in Catania today, right?” and the politician: “Me? So… Am I in Catania? If you have to say nonsense, let’s say, but…” and Di Ferro: “Okay, so you’re in Catania, no, then I’m open for the lunch” and the other: “Then wait, stay calm for a minute in peace…”. The chef: “Can’t you come at one? It’s been about ten days, right?” and Miccichè: “How many?”. This is one of the conversations that investigators consider almost “surreal” and that would hide cocaine transfers. Immediately after closing with the politician, Di Ferro called Gioacchino Salamone: “Hey, you should come to my house, but we are many, about 10, we are 12, one of these is for lunch, okay?” Then he phoned his employee Pietro Accept (subject to the obligation to inform the judicial police), telling her to retrieve the drugs: “I’m wasting time, yes Iachino (Salamone, educate) you leave at 10 and they both come looking for them.” At 1:05 pm Salamone arrived at Villa Zito, two minutes later Miccichè also showed up, leaving shortly after, at 1:41 pm.
“Bring Me the Silver Paper”
On December 30, although the restaurant was closed, Di Ferro arranged a meeting with a frequent visitor to the restaurant and Miccichè. In a second call to the latter, he asked if he should call the “representative” (ie the supplier) and Miccichè replied ironically: “Oh yes, you ask me these questions? They are really embarrassing!” So the chef immediately called Gioacchino Salamone for delivery. On January 6, Miccichè called Di Ferro: “I’m in Palermo for an hour, now in twenty minutes, half an hour has passed, because I have to go to someone” and Di Ferro: “And how many days do you stay outside?” and Miccichè: “Where? A couple of days”. Di Ferro then called Salvatore Salamone and commented: “Bring me the foil too.”
“I’m coming, we are like four”
On January 12 at 12:38 p.m. Miccichè called the chef again: “But where are you? I’m going, but we are like four, four!” and Di Ferro: “There are four of you, it’s fine” and the call to Gioacchino Salamone followed immediately. On January 28, Di Ferro telephoned the former senator to remind him of the invitation to an evening: “It’s half past eight there, don’t come at 9 because everyone is eighty-five and 88 with you… You have to dress, but a jacket you have to put it on Gianfrà… The princess is, not a boy’s thing, she’s 80 years old, she’s formal”. And then, inevitable: “You go to Sant’Ambrogio, how many days? Saturday, Sunday and Monday, three, all good.” Again on March 31 Miccichè: “I’m in Sant’Ambrogio but I’m going down to Palermo, what do I do, I’m coming to see you? Where are you? I’m coming to eat, then I’ll see you at one”. At 12:09 the chef called Gioacchino Salamone.
Birthday, baked pasta and 5 doses
On April 1, for his birthday, Miccichè had commissioned the chef to organize the banquet at Sant’Ambrogio. They talked on the phone, and Di Ferro said, “Happy birthday! Hey, how many days are you staying?” and the politician: “Five, five, no more” and the chef: “I understand, so I’m here at half past three, Maurizio is here (Ars employee, educate) who carries the two trays of pasta into the oven and the gatò”. So once again Di Ferro called Gioacchino Salamone: “Come to work, there are 5 of us and we’ll kick your ass”.