The well-kept secrets of the most feared and richest Italian mafia organization, ‘Ndrangheta, are about to be revealed, one after the other, as hundreds of suspected gangsters are brought to justice in the biggest trial against the Mafia. for the last 30 years. Alleged members of the criminal organization, including many corrupt politicians, will be locked in cages during the hearings, which will take place, starting today, in a huge hall of a “call center” transformed into a court, in the heart of Calabria, the poorer Italian region, severely affected by mafia activities.
More than 1,000 lawyers, prosecutors, judges and the public will take part in the process in which information guarded so far by ‘Ndrangheta, the most secretive mafia organization in Italy, is to be disclosed. “The Sun” announces. Investigators will present 24,000 phone calls and conversations, intercepted to support the charges of murder, extortion and drug trafficking. More than 900 witnesses will testify against 355 alleged members of the Calabrian organization, whose turnover is estimated at between 40 and 50 billion euros. The defendants include notorious mobsters, but also political leaders, officials, police and businessmen, against whom there is clear evidence that he collaborated with the criminal organization. Moreover, AFP reports, 58 prosecution witnesses agreed to break the “silence”, the law of silence, to reveal the darkest secrets of the Mancuso clan and its associates. “Godfather” Luigi Mancuso, who spent another 20 years in prison, will appear alongside other famous defendants, with nicknames derived from Hollywood scenarios – “Wolf”, “Goat”, “Blond” or “Fat”. In a preliminary hearing, it took no less than three hours to read the names of all the defendants in the trial, which is expected to be completed in two years. Demonstration of force The trial is considered a demonstration of force by the state, in the middle of the territory controlled by ‘Ndrangheta, which coordinates the flow of cocaine throughout Europe. According to The Sun, Ndrangheta controls 80% of Europe’s cocaine supply. The organization is believed to have strong links to drug cartels in Latin America, used to import cocaine both through major ports such as Rotterdam and through criminal groups in Turkey and Albania. According to the Italian police, due to the control exercised over drug trafficking, ‘Ndrangheta surpassed in influence the mafia organizations Cosa Nostra, from Sicily, and Camorra, from Naples. The organization in Calabria also carries out large-scale activities of extortion, prostitution and arms trafficking. In fact, ‘Ndrangheta has become one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the world, and the FBI has estimated that its membership has reached 6,000, most of them based in one of the poorest regions in Italy. The name of the organization comes from the Greek, where “andragathia” means courage or loyalty.
A dangerous prosecutor
The “brain” of the trial is the famous Italian anti-mafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, who has lived under the protection of the police for over 30 years. The Calabrian, now 62 years old, played football as a child with many of those he sent over the years behind bars. In 2019, he ordered the arrest of alleged mobsters in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Bulgaria, and most of them are charged in the trial that begins today. The operation involved 2,500 police officers and led to the arrest, among others, of a former police chief, a former senator from “Forza Italia”, lawyers, advisers, as well as numerous businessmen. Gratteri also benefited from the secrets revealed by Emanuele Mancuso, one of the sons of the local mafia leader, who demanded the protection of the police.
The process is shocking, due to the large number of members of the political class, officials and entrepreneurs who helped the Mafia to function!
Federico Varese, Professor of Criminology at Oxford University
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