The trial is to happen in a closely fortified courtroom bunker.
LAMEZIA TERME (ITALY) – Hundreds of alleged mobsters will probably be sentenced on Monday by an Italian courtroom, the fruits of a historic, nearly three-year trial in opposition to Calabria’s infamous Ndrangheta mafia.
Prosecutors are looking for responsible verdicts in opposition to 322 accused mafia members and their white-collar associates in what might be essentially the most vital blow thus far in opposition to one of many world’s strongest organized crime syndicates, which just about monopolized the European cocaine commerce.
The sentence will cap Italy’s largest mafia trial in many years, a “most trial” in which numerous defendants accused of being a part of the identical mafia felony conspiracy will face justice.
The Vibo courtroom in Valencia — a province in the poor southern area of Calabria that’s the birthplace of the ‘Ndrangheta — has heard hundreds of hours of testimony for the reason that trial started in January 2021, together with from greater than 50 former mafia operative turned. the state’s witnesses.
They and others have detailed numerous examples of the Ndrangheta’s brutality and management over the native inhabitants, whether or not it’s violent ambushes, shaking down enterprise house owners, rigging public tenders, stockpiling weapons, gathering votes or giving reserves to the highly effective.
The accused are members or associates of the highest Ndrangheta “clan” in Vibo Valencia – one of many many rural areas in the economically depressed area the place the mafia has destroyed the native economic system, infiltrated public establishments and terrorized his folks for a few years.
The territory’s undisputed boss, Luigi “The Supreme” Mancuso, 69, was minimize from the record of defendants final 12 months to be tried individually.
The closely secured courtroom bunker in town of Lamezia Terme, the place the trial occurred, can accommodate a whole lot of attorneys and is supplied with greater than 20 tv screens to attach with imprisoned defendants through video hyperlink.
With nicknames straight out of Hollywood like “The Wolf”, “Fatty”, “Sweetie” and “Lamb Thigh”, the ‘Ndrangheta de Vibo Valencia was rooted in the native economic system, worry of enterprise house owners and farmers, and guarded by white-. collar professionals and politicians.
Informants — a comparatively uncommon phenomenon inside the ‘Ndrangheta as a consequence of blood ties between members — informed how weapons have been hidden in cemetery chapels and ambulances used to move medicine, whereas metropolis water provides have been diverted to marijuana crops.
Those who opposed the mafia discovered lifeless puppies, dolphins or goat heads dumped on the doorstep, sledgehammers constructed to storefronts or torched automobiles.
Those who have been hit or shot — or whose our bodies have been by no means discovered — have been much less lucky.
– The energy of cement –
Long dismissed as mere cattle thieves, the ‘Ndrangheta thrived below the radar for years because the authorities centered their efforts in opposition to the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, defendants in the now legendary first most trial of 1986-1987 in Palermo .
Today, mafia consultants estimate that the ‘Ndrangheta, which is made up of about 150 Calabrian households and their associates, brings in greater than 50 billion euros ($53 billion) worldwide yearly from drug trafficking, usury, siphoning of public funds and extortion.
In Calabria, the ‘Ndrangheta has entered nearly each space of public life, from metropolis corridor and hospitals to the courts.
But its scope is far wider and the ‘Ndrangheta now operates in greater than 40 nations, consultants say.
Relying on fronts, shell firms and favors from the elite, the Ndrangheta reinvests unlawful positive factors in the reputable economic system, consolidating its energy.
For the primary time in such trials, the record of defendants contains many non-mafia members, together with high-ranking law enforcement officials, mayors and different public servants and businessmen.
The most high-profile is former parliamentarian and protection lawyer Giancarlo Pittelli, 70, accused of being a mafia fixer and nexus between the worlds of politics, finance and unlawful lodges Masonic.