An Italian judge has convicted 70 people connected to the country’s most powerful mafia clan – the ‘Ndrangheta, with some receiving maximum-length sentences.
The marathon Mafia trial was held over the weekend and saw 91 defendants tried in a specially converted court room in the Calabrian city of Lamezia Terme.
A total of 70 mobsters were convicted in the trial, one of the country’s largest ever. The charges against those on trial included drugs trafficking, murder, extortion, theft and abuse of office.
Anti-mafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri – who has lived under police protection for more than 30 years as a result of his mission to defeat the clan – remarked that the sentencing was an “important” one and that he was not “afraid of anything or anyone”.
Some of the mobsters sentenced had opted for a quick, private trial to have their jail time shortened by a third if they were found guilty. About a third of the group are set to serve over 10 years behind bars.
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However, a handful of key clan members were slapped with the maximum 20-year sentence prosecutors pushed for. Pasquale Gallone, 62, who helped coordinate his boss’s three-year run from 2014, was one of the gangsters to receive a two-decade long sentence.
Among the people tried, the majority of the 19 acquitted were only marginal suspects, Gratteri said.
Commenting on the verdict, he said that: “We continue our work with serenity and the firmness needed for such an important trial.”
The next two years will see 355 alleged gangsters and corrupt officials face the docks for their involvement with the ‘Ndrangheta, a network of some 150 families.
The clan, more powerful than the notorious Sicilian Cosa Nostra mob, is a major player in Europe’s cocaine trafficking, said to control about 80% of the continent’s smuggling operations.
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