The criminal underworld is growing. They’re killing each other off.

Published: January 16, 2016 at 2:19pm

Marco Cachia, one of those registered fishermen whose real business it is to smuggle people, drugs and diesel, was murdered by means of a car bomb this morning in a manner identical to the murder of Darren Degabriele in 2014.

Degabriele was also a registered fisherman with links to smuggling between Malta and Libya (reputedly diesel and people). They were killed in the same part of the island, where they lived and operated.

Over the last three years or so there has been a spate of murders and one disappearance (Terence Gialanze, who was still in his early 20s) of people involved in drug-dealing, drug-trafficking and drug-smuggling. The police are assuming that the murders were carried out or contracted by rivals and that they were turf wars, the removal of inconvenient people, or vengeance killings. Most of the men were shot.

The most recent one took place 10 months ago. Raymond Caruana, who gave his trade as ‘lorry driver’, was sprayed with bullets when he got into his car at night outside his girlfriend’s house. He had a company registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Malta is a couple of small islands with a registered population of around half a million – the equivalent of a town in a larger country. The escalation in the number of criminals being murdered by each other – and all of them involved in drugs and smuggling of one kind of another – gives us some idea of the surge in growth of the underworld. An underworld of this nature, which has now moved into contract killings and the elimination of rivals, will definitely have a network in the country’s power structures, because the two go together.

car bomb