Mafia fugitive caught in Caribbean after making YouTube cooking videos

‘Ndrangheta mafia fugitive is caught in the Caribbean after appearing in YouTube COOKING videos where he hid his face but showed tell-tale tattoos

  • Marc Feren Claude Biart was living low in the Dominican Republic with his wife
  • Detectives spotted their Italian cooking videos on YouTube where he hid his face
  • They recognised his tattoos, arrested him and brought him back to Italy
  • He had been on the run since 2014 since an arrest warrant for cocaine trafficking

A Mafia fugitive has been caught in the Caribbean after appearing on YouTube cooking videos where he showed off his distinctive tattoos.

Marc Feren Claude Biart, 53, 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.

But detectives spotted him in a YouTube channel where he showed off his Italian cooking skills with his wife. 

A Mafia fugitive has been caught in the Caribbean after appearing on YouTube cooking videos where he showed off his distinctive tattoos. Pictured during his arrest

He was returned to Milan on Monday after being seized as part of Operation Mauser to crack down on the gang’s global drug trafficking ring

The videos never showed his face, but the tattoos on his body gave him away, police said. 

Biart had been on the run since 2014, when Italian prosecutors ordered his arrest for trafficking in cocaine in the Netherlands on behalf of the Cacciola clan of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia.

He was returned to Milan on Monday after being seized as part of Operation Mauser to crack down on the gang’s global drug trafficking ring.

Marc Feren Claude Biart, 53, led a quiet life in Boca Chica, in the Dominican Republic, with the local Italian expat community considering him a ‘foreigner’

Detectives spotted him in a YouTube channel where he showed off his Italian cooking skills with his wife

Detectives from Interpol helped scour social media sites for any trace of Biart before they found him on YouTube. 

The ‘Ndrangheta is based in Calabria, the region that forms the tip of Italy’s boot.

It is considered one of the world’s most powerful crime syndicates due to its control of most of the cocaine entering Europe.

It has extended its reach across all parts of the world, and it has long surpassed Sicily’s Cosa Nostra as Italy’s biggest mafia organisation.

Detectives from Interpol helped scour social media sites for any trace of Biart before they found him on YouTube

Biart had been on the run since 2014, when Italian prosecutors ordered his arrest for trafficking in cocaine in the Netherlands

How the ‘Ndrangheta cocaine crime network extends around the world

In December 2019 an operation targeted the ‘Ndrangheta families based in the southern Italian city of Locri in the Calabria region – the rural, mountainous and under-developed ‘toe’ of Italy’s boot and the heartland of the worldwide crime group. 

As a result of the swoop, Italian police arrested 334 people, including a police colonel and a former MP from Silvio Berlusconi’s party. 

Despite intense police attention and frequent arrests, the ‘Ndrangheta – which derives its meaning from the Greek word for ‘heroism’ – has continued to extend its reach. 

Notoriously ruthless, the ‘Ndrangheta has surpassed Sicily’s Cosa Nostra and the Naples-based Camorra to operate on all continents thanks to the wealth it has amassed as the principal importer and wholesaler of cocaine produced in Latin America and smuggled into Europe via north Africa and southern Italy.

That trade is worth billions and previous police operations have indicated that the ‘Ndrangheta has well-established links with Colombian producer cartels, Mexican crime gangs and mafia families in New York and other parts of North America.


In 2016, a suspected ‘Ndrangheta boss, Ernesto Fazzalari (left), was arrested after two decades on the run, fleeing a life sentence for murder. A year later, another suspected boss of the crime clan, Santo Vottari (right), was detained in Calabria having been on the run for a decade

The organisation’s tight clan-based structure has made it hard to penetrate but police have made some in roads in recent years. 

In 2015, 163 people were arrested in a major crackdown on the notorious mafia gang, which by that time had become the most powerful crime organisation in the country.

In another sting that year, police snatched assets worth £1.4billion from the ‘Ndrangheta, which included more than 1,500 betting shops, 82 online gambling sites and almost 60 companies.  

In 2016, one of Italy’s most wanted mafia bosses Ernesto Fazzalari was arrested after two decades on the run, fleeing a life sentence for murder. 

The ‘Ndrangheta member was captured in an apartment in a remote part of the southern region of Calabria.

On the run since 1996, he was convicted in absentia in 1999 of mafia association, kidnapping, illegal possession of weapons and a double homicide linked to a bloody 1989-91 feud which left 32 people dead in his home town of Taurianova.

His arrest was hailed by the government as a significant victory for the state in its battle against the powerful mafia group.

In 2018, another suspected boss of the crime clan, Santo Vottari, was detained in Calabria having been on the run for a decade.

He was arrested hiding behind a trap door of a bunker having gone to ground over a 2007 massacre in Germany.  

Vottari was convicted in absentia in 2009 of being one of the heads of an ‘Ndrangheta clan whose feud with local rivals culminated in the Duisburg killings.

He was given a prison term of 10 years and eight months, two years after he went on the run.

Vottari was one of 31 people sentenced to prison terms in 2009 in connection with the Duisburg killings, which happened after a vendetta between two clans based in the same village, San Luca, spiralled out of control.

The feud between the Nirta-Strangio and Pelle-Vottari clans reportedly began with an egg-throwing prank in 1991. 

Reprisals escalated after the killing, on Christmas Day, 2006, of Maria Strangio, the wife of clan leader Giovanni Nirta.

The feud was blamed for at least 16 deaths in total, with the killings in Germany bringing it to international attention.

Giovanni Strangio was convicted in 2011 of being the mastermind and one of the authors of the Duisburg killings.

He was sentenced to life in prison. Seven others were given life sentences linked to the feud at the same trial.

Notoriously ruthless, the ‘Ndrangheta has surpassed Sicily’s Cosa Nostra and the Naples-based Camorra in influence thanks to its control of Europe’s cocaine trade.

The organisation is made up of numerous village and family-based clans based in the rural, mountainous and under-developed ‘toe’ of Italy’s boot.

The name ‘Ndrangheta comes from the Greek for courage or loyalty and the organisation’s secretive culture and brutal enforcement of codes of silence have made it very difficult to penetrate.

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