Italian police ask Navy for recordsto 6 Naples homes
NAPLES, Italy — Naples’ anti-mafia squad — backed by the finance police — paid a surprise visit late last month to the U.S. Navy’s housing office with a court order for the records for six off-base homes leased to U.S. personnel.
For years, the anti-mafia squad and the Guardia di Finanza have been investigating homes reportedly owned by Naples’ Camorra mafia crime families, Italian officials said.
Then in September, Italian authorities sequestered 40 homes in the Camorra strongholds of Casal di Principe and San Cipriano d’Aversa and placed them on a three-year "block" for the collection of rent, according to the Naples’ daily newspaper Il Mattino. Six of the 40 homes sequestered were leased by U.S. personnel, and it was those six homes that were listed in the court order, according to Navy spokesman Lt. Paul Macapagal.
Jalynn Pontes and her husband, Petty Officer 2nd Class Rafael Flores, live in another home that was raided, but not sequestered, that day.
Pontes said they returned from work that day to find a metal shutter broken on the front door of their Casal di Principe home. The lights were on, and their small dog, Valentino, was hiding.
Pontes had planned to file a police report until her neighbor told her the would-be intruders were police officials.
"The next morning, she told me the police were here," Pontes said. "She said she saw my house on TV. There was a report on the Italian news about the mafia in Casal, and it showed my street and then my house."
She said an Italian American liaison officer through the base’s security department tried to help the couple find out why police came to their house.
"He asked [the Italian police] questions for me, but they wouldn’t give him any information," Pontes said.
"Nobody told me anything, but the liaison said a lot of peoples’ houses had been seized. I don’t know if my house was part of a separate investigation.
"It gets tiring day after day. Working a full-time job and having full-time problems with the house is hard to deal with."
During the Nov. 25 visit to the housing office, Italian authorities also wanted to review the housing office’s entire database; a request the housing director turned down, officials said.
The office provided only those records listed in the court order.
"The Guardia di Finanza and the [Naval Support Activity] Office of the Staff Judge Advocate are in direct communication regarding these matters," Macapagal wrote in an e-mail response Tuesday.
News of Americans renting homes allegedly owned by the Camorra prompted U.S. Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, to meet with Sergio de Gregorio, a Campania senator who also serves as president of the Italian parliamentary delegation for NATO, and Maj. Gen. Maurizio Scoppa, deputy chief of the Interregional Carabinieri of Naples.
Fitzgerald "received assurance that a full investigation into this matter had begun," his spokeswoman said.