By Chris King •
Updated: 20 Nov 2023 • 22:05
Image of a man's hands on prison bars.
More than 200 people were sentenced in Italy on Monday, November 20, after one of the largest mafia trials in 30 years.
After 35 days of deliberation, a court finally concluded its three-year maxi-trial against the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta. A total of 338 defendants appeared before the court in Lamezia Terme. Of that number, 207 were eventually found guilty, with 131 acquitted.
Those sentenced by Judge Brigida Cavasino received terms ranging from a few months up to the 30 years in prison handed to four of the defendants. The full number of convictions totalled around 2,200 years in prison, according to corriere.it.
Initially, prosecutors had asked for a total of nearly 5,000 years of jailtime for the alleged mafia members facing trial. There were also a number of alleged white-collar accomplices, including civil servants, local elected officials and even high-ranking police officers.
One of the most prominent defendants was 70-year-old Giancarlo Pittelli, a former senator. Prosecutors had called for him to face 17 years in prison but he was finally sentenced to 11.
Since January 2021, three judges have heard thousands of hours of witness testimonies in a court held in a bunker under high security and surveillance.
Among those testifying were almost 50 mafiosi who subsequently decided to change sides and inform of the activities carried out by the Mancuso family and its associates, an important clan of the ‘Ndrangheta controlling the province of Vibo Valentia.
Charges brought against the defendants included mafia association, drug trafficking, extortion, usury, and the laundering of dirty money.
During the trial, the accused detailed how the ‘Ndrangheta influenced the local population using extortion, the rigging of calls for tenders and elections, and the acquisition of weapons, among other things.
They revealed secrets about weapons caches in cemeteries or ambulances used to transport drugs, and even revealed how municipal water had been diverted to water marijuana plantations.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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