Police in Italy have arrested a 46-year-old man suspected of using his young son to take part in drug trafficking in the far south-west.
The eight year old was talked into helping the gang, believed to be led by his father, which showed a “criminal lack of scruples” authorities said.
The boy had been trained to tell the difference between drugs being traded.
The paramilitary carabinieri police said his father, identified as Agostino Cambareri, was one of 13 people held.
The gang used a secret code based on the world of cars and the eight year old was reportedly made aware of all its activities by Mr Cambareri.
The suspects are alleged to have sold cannabis and cocaine in towns across the south-western region of Calabria.
They are not thought to have had close ties to the notorious Calabrian mob, the ‘Ndrangheta.
Of the 13 people arrested, eight are in custody.