A CONVICTED Australian mafia affiliate with connections to the Italy-based Calabrian mafia, Nicola “Nick” Ciconte, 58, has passed away in Cambodia, the Australian Embassy confirmed.
Ciconte was sentenced in absentia in May of last year to 25 years in an Italian prison for attempting to smuggle 500 kilograms of cocaine sourced from Colombian drug cartels into Australia from 2002 to 2004.
Anticipating extradition to Italy, Ciconte moved to Sihanoukville last year, according to Australian media outlets, where he ran a guesthouse named Above Us Only Sky. Calls to the guesthouse rang through.
An Australian Embassy spokesman confirmed the death yesterday – which Australian newspaper the Courier-Mail reported took place in Phnom Penh from pneumonia – but said he could not comment further.
“The Australian Embassy is aware of the death and is providing consular assistance to the man’s next of kin,” he said.
Officials with the National Police, Immigration Police in Preah Sihanouk and Phnom Penh, and the Ministry of Interior’s Internal Security Police unanimously denied being aware of his presence in the country.