In Lamezia Terme (province of Catanzaro), Calabria, 322 people were in the dock, awaiting their sentence in the largest trial ever against the mafia in this poor region of Italy , the sprawling Ndrangheta. In all, 207 were sentenced to up to thirty years in prison.
It all started on the morning of December 19, 2019 in the province of Vibo Valentia (in Pointe de la Botte). Special carabinieri forces and financial police launched mass arrests: 340 people, from the low-ranking to the highest-ranking.
The Mancuso clan
Two years later, on November 6, 2021, more than 70 of them were tried in first and second instance, after opting for the abbreviated trial allowing them to benefit from a reduction of a third of their sentence. This Monday, it was the turn of the pillars of the organization in this Calabrian region to be determined about their fate. The court, installed four years ago on a volleyball stadium like a bunker for this gigantic trial, has a capacity of 3,200 people.
At the center of the Vibo Valentia mafia system, the Mancuso clan and their leader Luigi, ” the uncle “, 69 years old, considered one of the “capos” of the ‘Ndrangheta. The latter has only been considered a mafia in Italian law since 2010, but its origins date back at least to the unification of Italy in 1861. It became known in the 1980s and 1990s through a series of kidnappings. She is suspected in particular of the kidnapping, in the 1970s in Rome, of the grandson of the American oil magnate Paul Getty.
In Vibo Valentia, in this rural region, the poorest in Italy, the mafia organization was originally involved in the production and sale of agricultural products. It gradually established itself in the cities, taking care of businesses, wholesale markets, and supplies. From a local mafia, organized around a family clan, it has become the most powerful mafia network in the world, having dethroned the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, or the Neapolitan Camorra.
Cocaine trafficking and construction revenues
It has more than 20,000 members around the world, with branches everywhere, from Europe to South America, now extending into Africa and Asia. Prosecutor Nicola Gratteri estimated its turnover at 50 billion euros per year, largely derived from cocaine trafficking and construction revenues.
Among the personalities tried is the lawyer Giancarlo Pittelli, former parliamentarian and ex-regional coordinator of Silvio Berlusconi’s party, Forza Italia: eleven years in prison. His role ? He was the linchpin of businessmen linked to the mafia and accredited in the circuits of Freemasonry such as that, among others, of the Grand Lodge of the Garibaldini of Italy in Vibo Valentia, and the Italian Grand Orient (GOI ) of the district of Catanzaro. The trial also revealed close links between the ‘Ndrangheta and universities, hospitals, public and political organizations in Calabria.
Other convicts appear on the list: Carabinieri lieutenant-colonel Giorgio Naselli; former member of the financial police Michele Marinaro; the former mayor of Pizzo Calabro Gianluca Callipo; former regional councilor of Calabria Luigi Incarnato and former regional councilor Pietro Giamborino.
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