NOS News•today, 6:39 PM
The biggest mafia trial in decades has come to an end in Italy. This afternoon the judge ruled in the mega trial against members of the mafia organization ‘ndrangheta, one of the largest and most powerful mafia organizations in the world. More than 300 suspects were on trial.
In total, more than 200 people were convicted. Together they received more than 2,100 years in prison, which amounts to an average of more than ten years.
The lowest prison sentence was several months. The highest sentences were for two regional bosses of the criminal organization: they both had to go to prison for thirty years.
The reading of the court’s verdicts lasted more than an hour and forty minutes. That included the acquittal of 131 other defendants.
Code of silence broken
All suspects were tried in a huge justice bunker in Lamezia Terme, in the Calabria region. That is the home of the ‘ndrangheta. Not all of them were members of the mafia organization. There were also businessmen, politicians and a former police chief who were suspected of collaboration with the mafia clan.
The evidence came from dozens of former members who no longer adhered to their obligation of silence. Many of those key witnesses are in a witness protection program.
Out of revenge
The suspects in the trial were largely arrested in an international police operation in December 2019. Approximately fifteen million euros worth of goods were also seized at that time. Thousands of officers were deployed in the operation.
The suspects were charged with extortion, murder, drug trafficking, money laundering and membership of a mafia organization. The mafia members used bars, restaurants, hotels and even funeral homes as fronts to launder money.
A prosecutor called it “the biggest action since a wave of arrests against the Sicilian mafia in the 1980s.” In 1986, more than 400 members of the mafia branch Cosa Nostra were indicted in the so-called ‘maxi trial’. Most were convicted.
In revenge, Sicilian mafiosi murdered investigating judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992.