party Forza Italia. Pittelli received an 11-year sentence for collusion with a mafia-type organisation. Others convicted including civil servants, professionals across various industries and high-ranking officials, who were critical to the ‘Ndrangheta’s success in infiltrating the legitimate economy and state institutions. More than 100 defendants were acquitted. The judges presiding over the case were put under police protection over fears for their safety. Originating in the impoverished region of Calabria, the ‘Ndrangheta is considered one of the world’s most dangerous criminal organisations. It is estimated to control as much as 80% of Europe’s cocaine market.The gang boasts an estimated annual turnover of around $60bn (£49bn).The trial was held in a call centre on the outskirts of the town of Lamezia Terme, converted into a high-security courtroom equipped with cages to hold the defendants and large enough to hold some 600 lawyers and 900 witnesses. Charges included murder, extortion, drug-trafficking, loan sharking, abuse of office and money laundering.Over three years, proceedings demonstrated how the Calabrian syndicate extended its reach across continents, eventually operating as far afield as South America and Australia. Its members infiltrated the local economy, public institutions, and even the health system, rigging public tenders and bribing local officials. The trial, the largest of its kind since the 1980s, saw judges examine thousands of hours of testimony. Former mobsters turned collaborators with the justice system testified about the activities of the Mancuso family and their associates, who wield extensive control over the province of Vibo Valentia.The Mancuso family, from the town of Limbadi, are one of the most powerful of the 150 clans which make up the ‘Ndrangheta.Anna Sergi, a professor of criminology at the University of Exeter, said: “This trial confirms convictions of classic mafiosi, sentenced for offences traditionally more associate with criminal activities, such as extortion or drug trafficking.”She added: “However, it is important to note how the different types of people involved, including white collar workers, provide a more comprehensive view of the entire province and the connections between various mafia clans.”Most of the defendants were arrested in December 2019, following an extensive investigation spanning at least 11 Italian regions, which began in 2016. Approximately 2,500 officers took part in raids targeting suspects in Vibo Valentia, an area primarily controlled by the ‘Ndragheta’s Mancuso clan.More than 50 former mafia members agreed to cooperate with the trial, among them Luigi Mancuso’s nephew, Emanuele.Their testimony shed light on the inner workings of one of Italy’s most powerful mobs. The trial revealed that ‘Ndrangheta members allegedly concealed weapons in cemetery chapels, used ambulances for drug transportation and diverted public water supplies to grow marijuana. Those who opposed the organised…
The recent sentencing of over 200 individuals with ties to the ‘Ndrangheta mafia in Italy highlights the pervasive influence of organized crime on institutions and society. The convictions of white collar workers, including local officials, businessmen, and politicians, demonstrate the far-reaching impact of the mafia on Italian institutions.
Furthermore, the trial shed light on the extensive reach of the ‘Ndrangheta, with members operating across continents and infiltrating various sectors of the economy and public institutions. The testimony of former mafia members turned collaborators provided crucial insights into the inner workings of one of Italy’s most powerful criminal organizations.
This case serves as a stark reminder of the need for continued efforts to combat organized crime and its detrimental effects on communities and the environment. The mafia’s involvement in drug trafficking, extortion, and money laundering not only undermines the rule of law but also contributes to environmental degradation and social instability.
As advocates for environmental protection, it is imperative to recognize the interconnectedness of organized crime and its impact on the environment. The illicit activities of criminal organizations, such as the ‘Ndrangheta, have far-reaching consequences, including the destruction of natural habitats, pollution from drug production, and the exploitation of resources for illegal gain.
Moving forward, it is essential to address the environmental implications of organized crime and work towards strengthening law enforcement efforts to combat these illicit activities. By understanding the environmental dimensions of organized crime, we can better protect our natural ecosystems and communities from the detrimental effects of criminal activities.