Today, the Italian court sentenced 207 people accused of belonging to the Italian “organized crime syndicate” ‘Ndrangheta – one of the most powerful, richest and largest drug trafficking gangs in the world – to a total of 2,100 years in prison.
It took more than an hour and 40 minutes to read the court’s verdict, including the acquittal of 131 accused. The trial took place in a concrete courtroom secured as a bunker in the southern region of Calabria, where the mafia organization originally operated.
‘Ndrangheta has quietly gained power in Italy and abroad as the Sicilian mafia lost influence and now the Calabrian organization holds a near-monopoly on importing cocaine into Europe, according to prosecutors leading the investigation in southern Italy. That organization has bases in North and South America and is active in Africa, according to Italian prosecutors, and ‘Ndrangheta figures have been arrested in recent years throughout Europe and Brazil and Lebanon.
The defendants were accused of drug and arms trafficking, extortion and mafia association, and others were accused of being accomplices.
The charges stemmed from an investigation into 12 clans linked to the convicted ‘Ndrangheta boss.
That central figure, Luigi Mancuso, served 19 years in an Italian prison for leading what investigators say is one of the most powerful criminal organizations.