LAMEZIA TERME, Italy (AP) – A trial against more than 320 defendants began on Wednesday in southern Italy against organized crime ‘ndrangheta, the world’s richest organized crime organization quietly gathering power. Because the Sicilian mafia lost its influence.
Expected to last at least a year, the trial will take place in a specially built highly secure bunker on the expansive expanses of an industrial park in Calabria, the “big toe” of the Italian peninsula.
Prosecutors hope the ruling will have a serious impact on ̵6;ndrangheta, a Calabria-based mob organization that has leveraged tens of billions of dollars in cocaine revenues over decades to expand its reach to criminals across Europe. And on many continents
Anti-Mafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri told reporters when he arrived at the bunker that the trial aimed at members of dozens of organized crime groups, including local officials, businessmen and politicians accused of being among the criminals. Turning point
“A decade ago, people would be shaken when they refer to the Cosa Nostra, or when they use the word ‘ndrangheta, which is what they would say in a room hidden around the fireplace whispering,’ said Gratteri, who was born in Calabria. Said and said that He played and attended school with a boy who later grew up to become ‘ndranghetisti As the group’s well-known “Today we will start speaking in the open air”
Encouraging him and others in Italy who are tackling the ‘ndrangheta and other Italian crime syndicates is a growing departure from the past when few dared to provoke the group’s retaliation. Villains reportedly attempted to claim money. “Protection” from businesses big and small. And other forms of intimidation
“We have received complaints from businessmen, citizens who have been bullied, victims of usury, people who have been under ‘ndrangheta rule for many years,’ Gratteri said.
The researchers said ‘ndrangheta has established military bases in northern and central Western Europe, Australia, North and South America, and is active as well in Africa.
The first three hours of the opening day of the trial were used by the defendant’s claims and the court’s official attorney. Defendants jailed for convicted of other crimes can be pursued by video conferencing.
The trial follows an investigation of 12 groups linked to the ‘ndrangheta chief who was found guilty. The figure is Luigi Mancuso, who serves 19 years in prison in Italy for his role in leading what investigators accuse to be one of ‘ndrangheta’s most powerful crime families based in Vibo Valentia.
The prosecution said it hoped that more than 900 witnesses could be called.
Among the allegations under trial were drug and weapons trafficking, extortion and mafia associations, a term used in the Italian Penal Code for other members of organized crime. ‘ndrangheta without actually being a member
The 325 defendants were ordered to take a trial in court in Lamezia Terme, while 90 other defendants in the investigation opted for a swift trial that begins later this month in Calabria, another by-product of the same investigation. A trial involving five homicides will begin in February elsewhere in Calabria.
The Lamezia Terme bunker was so large that a video screen was anchored to the ceiling for participants to watch the action. There are tables for 600 attorneys working, with microphones and chairs safely distant, respecting COVID-19 hygiene rules.
Although the numbers are impressive But this week’s trial is not the largest in Italy against the mob.
In 1986, in Palermo, in a similarly specially built bunker, the alleged 475 members of Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian mafia, came to trial, resulting in more than 300 convictions and 19 prison sentences. All life The trial uncovers the brutal methods and assassination strategies of the island’s leading mob bosses, as well as the thrilling killings that have bloody Palermo in years of power struggle.
In contrast, the ruling against ‘ndrangheta was intended to gain conviction of the alleged conscience of local gangsters and politicians, government officials, businessmen and members of secret shelters to indicate that a How deep is this marshland in the land?
Based on blood ties, almost all ‘ndrangheta for decades have been immune to turncoats, but their rank is becoming more substantial. Among the transfiguration evidence at trial, Lamezia Terme is a relative of Mancuso.Dozens of informants in this case are from ‘ndrangheta, but others are from Cosa Nostra’s original position in Sicily and can be called as witnesses.
‘ndrangheta earns more revenue from the cocaine trade,’ ndrangheta has taken up hotels, restaurants, pharmacies, car dealerships and other businesses across Italy, especially in Rome and the affluent north, a criminal investigation has revealed.
The buying spree over the years has spread wildly across Europe as’ ndrangheta attempts to launder illegal income. But it also generates “clean” income through legitimate business operations, including in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
Frances D’Emilio reports from Rome.