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207 people convicted in a gigantic trial targeting the Calabrian mafia

The ‘Ndrangheta is the richest and most powerful of the Italian mafias. It is present in more than forty countries.



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Lawyers wait for the verdict to be read on November 20, 2023, in Lamezia Terme (Italy).  (GIANLUCA CHININEA / AFP)

A historic trial. In Italy, more than 200 people were sentenced on Monday, November 20, to sentences of up to 30 years in prison, following a gigantic trial targeting the ‘Ndrangheta, the most powerful mafia on the peninsula. Of the 338 defendants who appeared in first instance before the Lamezia Terme court, 207 were found guilty and sentenced, while 131 were acquitted. The prosecution had requested a total of nearly 5,000 years in prison against the mafiosi as well as their white-collar accomplices, civil servants, local elected officials and even high-ranking police officers. The sentences, read by judge Brigida Cavasino, range from a few months in prison to 30 years in prison, a sentence received by four people.

A suffocating grip

This trial, organized in a bunker under high surveillance, is the most important against the mafia in more than 30 years. The charges are numerous: mafia association, drug trafficking, extortion, usury, laundering of dirty money… During the trial, which began more than three years ago, the accused detailed the violent operation of the ‘Ndrangheta, its control over the local population, extortion, rigging of calls for tenders and elections, acquisition of weapons…

Based in Calabria, a very poor region, the ‘Ndrangheta is the richest and most powerful of the Italian mafias. Present in around forty countries, it exerts a stifling influence on its land of origin. It grew quietly for several decades as authorities focused their efforts on Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian mafia depicted in films like The Godfather.

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