AJACCIO: Alleged Corsican gang leader Laurent Emmanuelli was arrested on Friday in Bastia getting off a plane from Paris, according to sources close to the case.
The 32-year-old was apprehended by a large gendarmerie force, a source close to the case told AFP, confirming a report in Corsican newspaper Corse-Matin.
Police suspect Emmanuelli of leading one of the 25 criminal gangs active on the Mediterranean island, a region of France.
According to a confidential note from the national police dating from March 2022 and seen by AFP, he is considered to be close to the Moretti brothers and a potential “support” for the Orsoni clan in Balagne, northwest Corsica.
Emmanuelli was arrested in Morocco in August 2021 and placed in detention for extradition to France “under warrants for murder, extortion, and attempted murder”, according to the note.
In May 2019, he was suspected – along with his 22-year-old right-hand man Antoine Francisci – of having tried to attack Dominique “Mimi” Costa.
Francisci was killed that day by several shotgun blasts while driving a buggy in Pietralba, about 15km from Moltifao, the stronghold of the Costa family.
One of the investigators’ theories was that Costa had learned of the two men’s plan to attack him and took “preventive self-defence”, sources close to the police told AFP in July 2020.
The clan war seemed based on a “struggle for spheres of influence between an established group and the rising generation”, embodied by Emmanuelli.
It also led to two attempts to settle scores, in February and June 2020, in L’Ile-Rousse, northern Corsica.
Emmanuelli, suspected in these cases, was then known for “undeclared work, threats, bomb attacks, and violation of the legislation on gaming by organised gangs”, according to these sources.
Following the death of his right-hand man, Emmanuelli was suspected of having fled abroad, which his arrest in Morocco subsequently confirmed.
His arrest on Friday took place as part of investigations carried out by the Specialised Interregional Jurisdiction (JIRS) of Marseille, responsible for organised crime cases, as well as a judicial investigation by an investigating judge from Bastia, a source close to the case told AFP.