Sentencing for alleged ‘Ndrangheta mobsters in Italian court on Monday
Culmination of a nearly three-year trial against Calabria’s notorious mafia
Prosecutors seek guilty verdicts for 322 accused members and collaborators
The sentencing of hundreds of alleged mobsters is set to take place on Monday in an Italian court, marking the culmination of a nearly three-year trial against Calabria’s notorious ‘Ndrangheta mafia.
Prosecutors are seeking guilty verdicts for 322 accused mafia members and their white-collar collaborators, aiming to deliver a significant blow to one of the world’s most powerful organized crime syndicates.
The ‘Ndrangheta holds a near-monopoly on the European cocaine trade.
Italy’s largest mafia trial in decades, often referred to as a “maxi-trial,” is reaching its conclusion. The court of Vibo Valentia, situated in the impoverished southern region of Calabria and the birthplace of the ‘Ndrangheta, has heard extensive testimony since the trial’s commencement in January 2021.
Over 50 former mafia operatives turned state’s witnesses have provided crucial insights.
The accused individuals are members or affiliates of the top ‘Ndrangheta “clan” in Vibo Valentia, an economically depressed rural area where the mafia has long exerted control over the local economy and instilled fear in the population.
Luigi “The Supreme” Mancuso, the undisputed boss of the territory, was removed from the defendants list last year for a separate trial.
The courtroom in Lamezia Terme, heavily secured and equipped with over 20 television screens for video links with incarcerated defendants, has been the epicenter of the trial.
The ‘Ndrangheta’s influence, marked by brutality, economic manipulation, and political infiltration, has been laid bare through testimony.
The mafia’s activities range from violent ambushes, extortion, and rigging public tenders to stockpiling weapons, collecting votes, and passing kickbacks to the powerful.
Informants have revealed hidden weapons, drug transport using ambulances, and diversion of municipal water supplies for illegal activities.
The ‘Ndrangheta of Vibo Valentia, with members sporting Hollywood-esque nicknames like “The Wolf” and “Sweetie,” has deeply embedded itself in the local economy, instilling fear among business owners and farmers.
The mafia’s reach extends beyond Italy, operating in over 40 countries and generating an estimated 50 billion euros annually from various criminal activities.
In a notable departure from traditional mafia trials, the defendants list includes non-mafia members, such as a high-ranking police official, mayors, public servants, and businessmen.
Among them is 70-year-old ex-parliamentarian Giancarlo Pittelli, accused of acting as a fixer for the mafia and facilitating connections with the worlds of politics, finance, and illegal Masonic lodges.
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