Man Tied To Cruise Ship Passenger Drug Overdose Death Arrested

Man Tied To Cruise Ship Passenger Drug Overdose Death Arrested
Man Tied To Cruise Ship Passenger Drug Overdose Death Arrested
Luigi Vitale
Luigi Vitale

It’s been over 15 years since Luigi Vitale, now 53,  was investigated in the September 23, 2002 cruise ship death of Dianne Brimble, 42, aboard P&O cruise ship Pacific Sky. Vitale has now been arrested (see video below) on Thursday May 10, 2018, during a drug manufacturing raid at his $1.3 million home at Henley Beach South in Adelaide, Australia.  Vitale was arrested in connection with a massive quantity of the same drug which killed Brimble.

Vitale was only investigated for many months after the Brimble death in 2002. He was not charged in relation to her death, but was part of a group of eight men who came under investigation during a coroner inquest which found Brimble was “unknowingly drugged by unscrupulous individuals who were intent on denigrating her for their own gratification”. Investigators found gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) in Brimble’s blood after she died from an overdose.

Today, Vitale has been charged after a police drug sting in South Australia.  Crime Gangs Task Force pulled over an associate of Vitale, Elio Commachio, 45, after he left Vitale’s home, where police had a stakeout. Police raided the Vitale home and allegedly uncovered a clandestine drug lab.  It’s alleged up to 15 litres of liquid fantasy (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) was found in a car being driven by Mr Comacchio, who also failed a drug test. GHB, or gammahydroxybutyrate, contains sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, and other ingredients used in drain cleaners and solvents used to strip floors.

Two hours later, officers searched the Vitale house and allegedly saw Mr Vitale running upstairs and pouring a liquid down a bath drain with the water running. For a liquid drug which takes  a dose of around 2 or 3 milliliters to affect the user in 5–15 minutes, 15 liters in a single cache is a massive quantity used for large scale distribution in the range of 5,000 to 7,000 doses. The estimated street value is $7(AU) for a 2 milliliters dose, or a  street value for 15 liters $35,000 to $49,000(AU).

Why were police watching the Vitale home?  Back in 2002, when we investigated the Brimble death, we discovered that Luigi Vitale, 41,  had been convicted for drug production, assault and possession of an unlicensed firearms. Luigi Vitale’s brother, Robert, was the manager operator of the nightclub Rise, a weekend “recovery club” [open during the day] in Adelaide’s Light Square, where, police allege, the Rebels motorcycle gang run drug trade and protection, and were involved in a turf war with the Hells Angels.

Rise which was located at 69 Light SQ, Adelaide, has been defined with unflattering language in posts at online forums,  “Rise was the most uncomfortable block of square meters to ever venture to in Adelaide” and “the wart on the anus of Adelaide’s club scene.”

Mr Vitale was one of eight men investigated over the Pacific Sky drug overdose death of Brimble. The eight men who were persons of interest in the Brimble case, were sorted into two cabins. In Cabin #182 was Mark Robin Wilhelm, 33, Letterio “Leo” Silvestri, 41, Ryan Kuchel, 29, and Matthew Graham Slade, 32. They all worked out at the same gymnasium. In Cabin #176 across the corridor from the death cabin was Dragan Losic, 45, Sakeleros “Charlie” Kambouris (it is said the camera used to photograph the sex acts belong to him), 43, Luigi Vitale, 41, and Peter Pantic, 29.

Of the eight male passengers who were later arrested, all were in  cabin #182. They were Mark Wilhelm, Ryan Kuchel and Letterio  “Leo” Silvestri who were charged in relation to the death. A charge of manslaughter against Wilhelm was later dropped before he was convicted for supplying a prohibited drug — fantasy (GHB) — to Ms Brimble. Kuchel was sentenced to an 18-month good behavior bond because he failed to tell police Wilhelm gave Brimble fantasy and Silvestri was placed on a 15-month good behavior bond for the same offence.

This case is unfolding, please check back.

Article Resources:

Video: Luigi Vitale Arrest


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