Hundreds of suspects in Italy’s most powerful mafia group are set to face justice in the country’s largest organized crime trial in decades.
355 suspicious gangsters and corrupt officials were charged after a lengthy investigation into the Ndrangeta Group.
More than 900 witnesses are expected to submit evidence, and the price list includes murder, drug trafficking, blackmail, and money laundering.
The trial begins on Wednesday, local time and is expected to last for more than two years.
It takes place in a specially remodeled building in southern Calabria in the heart of the territory of’Ndrangheta.
The building, formerly the call center of the town of Lamezia Terme, has been converted into a fortified courtroom to create space for hundreds of people who may attend the proceedings. Since the 1980s, Italy has not had a mafia trial of this size.
Who is the defendant?
Unlike previous trials involving numerous Sicilian Mafia families from 1986 to 1992, Wednesday’s trial included only one group, the Manxos, who formed a powerful section of the vast Ndrangetamafia. It is targeted.
Ndrangheta is now larger than Sicilian Mafia, but the Manxo clan is said to be primarily active in Vibo Valentia, Calabria.
At a recent pre-trial hearing, AFP news agency reported that it took more than three hours to read the defendant’s name. They include politicians, police officers, civil servants, and mob suspects and co-conspirators.
The most well-known defendant is Luigi Manxo, 66, the boss of the clan, also known as his “uncle.” Other defendants are said to go with nicknames such as “The Wolf,” “Fatty,” and “Blondie.”
Taking into account the 92 suspects who chose another expedited trial, the number of defendants would increase to over 400.
Pittelli denies linking Ndrangheta to other powerful institutions such as the political world and courts.
Most of the defendants were detained in pre-dawn raids in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Bulgaria in December 2019.
How much is it?
‘Ndrangheta is believed to control the supply of large amounts of cocaine entering Europe from South America and elsewhere.
But long bills against hundreds of defendants go far beyond drug crime. This includes mafia associations, murders, attempted murders, blackmail, loan sharks, disclosure of public secrets, and abuse of authority.
“This trial shows how deeply rooted Ndrangheta is in society,” Federico Varese, a professor of criminology at Oxford University, told AFP. “It’s shocking that there is a criminal group rooted in that territory and hundreds of people have to be tried.”
At the heart of the case is Italy’s most famous anti-mafia prosecutor, 62-year-old Nicola Gratelli, who has lived under police custody for over 30 years.
He vowed to defeat “this suffocating’Ndrangheta, which really takes people’s breath and heartbeat.”
However, Professor Varese warned that the trial did not mark the end of the group. “You can imprison them in jail, but if you can’t eliminate the root cause of why they exist, they will just breed,” he said.
‘Ndrangeta Group: Italy prepares for the biggest mafia trial in decades
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