(TheConservativeTimes.org) – In Italy’s largest-ever Mafia trial, almost 200 mobsters from an infamous group responsible for a succession of violent murders were sentenced to prison terms totaling over 2,200 years.
After a remarkable three-year trial, 207 mafia members of the affluent and brutal crime organization, ‘Ndrangheta, were found guilty and given sentences, according to a report. It is the only mafia family active on every continent except Antarctica.
Several suspects were apprehended by the Cacciatori (The Hunters), an elite unit of the Carabinieri (the Italian Paramilitary Police), after they concealed themselves in bunkers accessible only by sliding stairs, secret trapdoors, and maintenance-hole covers.
Due to its members’ reliance on family connections and the Mafia rule of silence, the murderous Calabrian group has remained almost impenetrable to the police for over 150 years. The deadly ‘Ndrangheta organization’s original center of operations was in Calabria, which began in a guarded underground bunker. Reports suggest that ‘Ndrangheta controls as much as 70% of the European cocaine trade, which is worth an estimated £80 billion each year.
The three-year mega-trial comprised 338 defendants, including mafia members, politicians, and business leaders. It included allegations of corruption, drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion, and murder.
The verdicts conclude a three-year trial in a highly-guarded courtroom in the south Calabria region, designed to hold up to 350 defendants, accommodate 400 lawyers and hear from 900 witnesses testifying against a broad circle of members belonging to the notorious ‘Ndrangheta. Just over 100 defendants had been cleared by the court.
Reports show that, for the first time ever, the defendants in a mafia trial have included people outside the criminal underworld, such as regional councilors, businesses, a police chief, and a former Italian MP.
Nicola Gratteri, a legendary prosecutor in the fight against the mafia, oversaw the probe. In preparation for trial, his team gathered over 24,000 intercepts and wiretaps to bolster their case. Evidence of bribes, violent crimes, extortion, public corruption, weapon hoarding, and election manipulation was presented in court.
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