verdict expected in a gigantic trial against 338 members of the powerful Calabrian mafia, the ‘Ndranghetta

The verdict is expected this Monday, November 20 in the trial of the ‘Ndranghetta, based in Calabria (Italy) and which has become the most powerful criminal movement in Italy, thanks in particular to cocaine trafficking.

Article written by

Bruno Duvic – edited by Audrey Abraham

Radio France


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1 minute

Court of Lamezia Terme in Calabria, January 13, 2021 (SALVATORE MONTEVERDE / ANSA)

It is the trial of all superlatives, the most important in Italy since that of Palermo in the 1980s against the Sicilian mafia Cosa Nostra. This time, it is the ‘Ndranghetta which is on trial, based in Calabria and which has become the most powerful criminal movement in the country through its control of cocaine trafficking. It achieves an annual turnover of around fifty billion euros worldwide.

Thousands of hours of hearings and years of prison required against the 338 accused: these are some data which summarize this trial which opened almost three years ago. All these members are accused of belonging to or being affiliated with the Mancuso clan, which had put the region of Vibo Valentia in Calabria under its control. In the investigation that preceded the trial, more than 300 suspected mafiosi were arrested under the direction of prosecutor Gratteri, now in Naples.

Takeover, extortion, trickery and acquisition of weapons

To judge the clan and its alleged associates, including a former elected member of parliament, a bunker was specially built in Lamezia Terme, in the heart of Calabria. Another notable fact: the number of repentants, around fifty. The charges are numerous: mafia associations, drug trafficking, extortion, laundering of dirty money… Before the court, the accused detailed the functioning of the ‘Ndrangheta, its influence over the local population, the extortions, rigging of calls for tenders and elections, arms acquisitions, etc. They revealed secrets about weapons caches in cemeteries and ambulances and revealed how municipal water was diverted to water marijuana plantations.

But this trial will not have the consequences of that of Palermo. In Sicily, the leaders of a pyramid structure, Cosa Nostra, had been convicted. Here, it is a single family that is judged out of more than 150 that would make up the ‘Ndranghetta.

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