Five people have been arrested as part of the probe into the gang, which allegedly arranged the harvesting of kidneys and other organs of migrants arriving in Europe by boat.
Italy, with its southern-most province Lampedusa just 80 miles from Africa, is the gateway for many seeking new lives in Europe.
Almost 150,000 have made the journey so far in 2014. Around 3,000 have died attempting the journey this year.
The group of Libyans and Eritreans allegedly demanded that asylum seekers pay £1,200 up front to board one of the often overcrowded and unseaworthy boats.
Those who could not immediately pay the full price were given the option of paying after arrival by working off the debt, or as organ donors, according to court documents and police arrest warrants.
Investigating magistrate Tiziana Coccoluto described the migrants’ plight was like that of slaves, with the gangsters also selling them off to other criminal groups.
The gang’s ‘treasurer’Michael Brhane, was among those arrested, along with four other men – Haile Seifu, Russom Gebrem Michael Henok, and Tesfay Bahta – who allegedly worked as cashiers collecting money owed in Italy.
The five face charges of human trafficking and aiding illegal immigration.
Police also suspect other gang members were responsible for the tragedy which killed 300 people off the island of Lampedusa last year when a 66-foot-long fishing boat caught fire and sank with over 500 migrants on board. Only 155 were later rescued.
The bodies of migrants missing organs are often found in the north African Sinai desert, anti-trafficking activist Alganesh Fessaha has warned.
Last year, one of the world’s most wanted organ traffickers, Gedalya Tauber, a retired Israeli police officer, was arrested in Rome.
He was previously convicted of recruiting from impoverished neighbourhoods in Brazil buying kidneys for less than £2,000 for the mainoy-Israeli market.
The operation would then take place in a hospital in Durban South Africa with clients paying as much as 20 times the sum received by the donor.