Monday, November 20, 2023

More Than 200 'Ndrangheta Mobsters Are Convicted And Sentenced In Italy

This is supposed to be the culmination of one of the largest mafia trials in Italian history, according to this Daily Mail article. About 200 out of 322 defendants were convicted and sentenced. An excerpt:

    The verdicts - which can be appealed twice - capped Italy's largest mafia trial in decades and mark the most significant blow to date against one of the world's most powerful organised crime syndicates, which enjoys a near-monopoly on the European cocaine trade.

    The mega trial started almost three years ago inside an ultra-secure bunker courtroom in the southern region of Calabira, where the powerful 'Ndrangheta organisation was originally based. 

    Since then, the court of Vibo Valentia has heard thousands of hours of testimony, including from more than 50 former mafia operatives turned state witnesses.

    The witnesses have detailed countless examples of the 'Ndrangheta's brutality and its stranglehold over the local population, whether carrying out violent ambushes, shaking down business owners, rigging public tenders, stockpiling weapons, collecting votes or passing kickbacks to the powerful.

    Those who opposed the mafia found dead puppies, dolphins or goat heads dumped on their doorsteps, sledgehammers taken to storefronts or cars torched. Some were murdered, their bodies never found, while others were beaten or fired at.

* * *

    The informants - a relatively rare phenomenon within the 'Ndrangheta due to blood ties between members - recounted how weapons were hidden in cemetery chapels and ambulances used to transport drugs, and municipal water supplies diverted to marijuana crops. 

* * *

    The 'Ndrangheta organised crime syndicate now holds almost a monopoly on cocaine importation in Europe, according to anti-mafia prosecutors who led the investigation in southern Italy. 

    The organisation also has bases in North and South America and is active in Africa, Italian prosecutors maintain, and 'Ndrangheta figures have been arrested in recent years around Europe and in Brazil and Lebanon. 

    Despite the large number of defendants, the trial wasn't Italy's biggest one involving alleged mobsters.

    In 1986, 475 alleged members of the Sicilian Mafia went on trial in a similarly constructed bunker in Palermo. The proceedings resulted in more than 300 convictions and 19 life sentences. 

    That trial helped reveal many of the brutal methods and murderous strategies of the island's top mob bosses, including sensational killings that bloodied the Palermo area during years of power struggles.

    In contrast, this trial involving the 'Ndrangheta was aimed at securing convictions and sentences based on alleged acts of collusion among mobsters and local politicians, public officials, businessmen and members of secret lodges to show how deeply rooted the syndicate is in Calabria. 

    'The relevance (of this trial) is enormous,' Italian lawmaker former anti-mafia chief prosecutor and lawmaker Federico Cafiero De Raho, a former chief anti-mafia prosecutor, said. 

    'First of all, because every trial against the 'ndrangheta gives a very significant message to the territory, which is not only the Calabrian one, but the national territory.'

    'But it has repercussions also at a European and world level, because the 'ndrangheta is one of the strongest organizations in the world, able to manage the international traffic of narcotics, as well as many other activities,' Cafiero De Raho added.

    Awash in cocaine trafficking revenues, the 'ndrangheta has gobbled up hotels, restaurants, pharmacies, car dealerships and other businesses throughout Italy, especially in Rome and the country's affluent north, criminal investigations have revealed.

    The buying spree spread across Europe as the syndicate sought to launder illicit revenues but also to make 'clean' money by running legitimate businesses, including in the tourism and hospitality sectors, investigators alleged.

* * *

    Today, mafia experts estimate that the 'Ndrangheta, made up of approximately 150 Calabrian families and their associates, bring in more than 50 billion euros (£43 billion) annually around the world from drug trafficking, usury, syphoning public funds and extortion.

    In Calabria, the 'Ndrangheta has crept into practically all areas of public life, from city hall and hospitals to the courts. But its scope is much wider and the 'Ndrangheta now operates in more than 40 countries, experts say.

    Relying on frontmen, shell companies and favours from the elite, the 'Ndrangheta reinvests illegal gains in the legitimate economy, cementing its power.

    For the first time in such trials, the defendants list includes many non-mafia members, including a high-ranking police official, mayors and other public servants and businessmen.

2 comments:

  1. Very, very hard to root out. But unlike Commies, they don't care if you love them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only possible because Italian authorities, unlike their U.S. counterparts, are concerned with doing their jobs rather than punishing political dissent.

      Delete

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