Judge indicts 444 suspected ‘Ndrangheta members
On November 28th, 444 suspected member of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia clan were indicted for murder, attempted murder, money laundering, extortion, drug trafficking, and more.
A judicial source states that a trial of 355 out of the total 444 suspects will begin on January 13th. The trial will be the largest against Italian organized crime since the 1986 Maxi Trial against Sicily’s Cosa Nostra, where there were 475 indictments. Eighty-nine suspects in the new case agreed to a quickfire trial. Defendants who accept shorter hearings get shorter sentences upon being found guilty.
A “fortified courthouse” has been built in anticipation of the trial. It will be large enough to house all defendants, lawyers, judges, and prosecutors.
Nicola Gratteri, the lead prosecutor on the case, said last week, “Obviously mafias change and evolve along with the society around them and they get to look increasingly like the rest of us. Mafiosi are not Martians, they live among us… Mafiosi prefer corrupting people rather than killing them, because shootings draw unwelcome attention.”
The new ‘Ndrangheta trial involves a high number of white-collared workers and does not target the top enforcers of the family in the way the Maxi Trial did.
Gratteri explained how the ‘Ndrangheta has spread far past its Souther-Italian roots, and is now present in the majority of Europe and North America. “There has been a sharp fall in ethics and morals (in society) in recent years … which has made it easier to corrupt public officials. This doesn’t just involve Italy. It involves the Western world,” he stated.
The Calabrian group has recently surpassed Cosa Nostra to become the most powerful family in Italy. They are notorious for money laundering, extortion, and drug trafficking.