Italy mafia trial: 200 sentenced to 2,200 years for mob links

In one of the most significant mafia proceedings in Italy in recent generations, over 200 defendants were collectively sentenced to over 2,200 years in prison.

Amidst a three-year legal proceeding, defendants suspected of having ties to the 'Ndrangheta were convicted of offences including drug trafficking and extortion. A former senator from Italy was among those sentenced. However, the verdicts remain subject to appeal.

The 'Ndrangheta is among the most influential criminal organisations in Europe. The case exemplified the extensive societal and political sway of the rabble in southern Italy.

According to authorities, the convictions of white collar workers—including politicians, merchants, and local officials—illustrated the profound effect that organised crime has had on Italian institutions.

A lawyer and former senator for the Forza Italia party of former premier Silvio Berlusconi, Giancarlo Pittelli was among the most notable individuals to receive sentences. Pittelli was sentenced to eleven years in prison for his part in a mafia-like organisation.

The convictions of additional individuals encompassed high-ranking officials, professionals from diverse sectors, and civil servants—all of whom played a pivotal role in facilitating the 'Ndrangheta's infiltration of the legitimate economy and state institutions.

Over one hundred of the defendants were acquitted. Police secured the justices who were preside over the case in response to concerns for their personal safety.

The 'Ndrangheta, which has its origins in the destitute region of Calabria, is widely regarded as one of the most perilous criminal organisations in the world. An estimated eighty percent of the cocaine market in Europe is under its control.

The gang's yearly revenue is estimated to be around $65 billion (£49 billion). Converted from a call centre on the periphery of the town of Lamezia Terme, the venue for the trial was a high-security courtroom that was furnished with cages for the defendants and had sufficient space to accommodate approximately 600 solicitors and 900 witnesses.

Included among the charges were homicide, extortion, narcotic trafficking, loan-seeking, office misuse, and money laundering.

The proceedings over a span of three years illustrated the extensive transcontinental operations of the Calabrian syndicate, which ultimately extended to South America and Australia.

Ballotrigging and corrupting local officials and public institutions, including the health system, were methods by which its members infiltrated the local economy.

The judges reviewed thousands of hours of testimony in the largest trial since the 1980s. Former mobsters who testified for the legal system described the ways of the Mancuso family and their friends, who rule much of Vibo Valentia.

The majority of the accused were apprehended in December 2019, subsequent to a comprehensive inquiry that commenced in 2016 and encompassed a minimum of eleven Italian regions.

Approximately 2,500 officers participated in operations that targeted suspects in Vibo Valentia, an area under the Mancuso clan of the 'Ndragheta.

Over fifty former mafia members, including Emanuele Mancuso, the nephew of Luigi Mancuso, consented to cooperate with the trial. They revealed the inner workings of one of Italy's most powerful mobs.

The trial claimed the 'Ndrangheta hid guns in cemetery chapels, misused public water for marijuana production, and used ambulances to transport drugs.

Negative consequences for organised crime syndicate opponents included goat heads and dead puppies abandoned in front of their homes, burnt automobiles, and vandalised shop windows.