Messina mafia bust leads to 33 arrests

Messina mafia bust leads to 33 arrests

On Wednesday, 33 members of the Cosa Nostra family clan in Messina were arrested by Italian police.

These arrests were a significant blow to the Galli Family, who were allegedly trafficking drugs across the Sicilian city.  Most notably, the Galli’s were organizing illegal betting on night-time horse racing within the city and throughout the outskirts.  Races took place while youngsters blocked the streets in their scooters.

Giuseppe Irrera, a fruit and vegetable trader and son-in-law of imprisoned boss Luigi Galli, led the illegal horse betting operation.  Irrera inherited the scheme as a result of Galli being incarcerated.  According to police, the Santapaola mafia clan, ran from prison by legendary boss Benedetto “Nitto” Santapaola, was in charge of settling any disputes that arose while the operation was running.

The Messina mafia members reportedly used two different groups to distribute narcotics, as well.  One group was ran by a woman who used her 12-year-old son to deliver drugs, which successfully flew under the radar of police.  Carlo Altavilla led the other group, where he imported narcotics from the ‘Ndrangheta and Camorra mafia families.

Members taken into custody on Wednesday were charged with mafia association, illegal horse racing, illegal betting on unauthorized sporting competitions, mistreatment of animals, fraudulent transfer of goods, extortion, conspiracy to traffic drugs, and drug pushing.