Italy: 70 convictions announced in major anti-mafia trial

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Italian justice on Saturday dealt a severe blow to Drangeta, Italy’s most powerful mafia organization, by convicting 70 of its members and others who had links with it in the largest anti-mafia trial since the end of the year. of 1980.

Judge Claudio Paris read out the verdicts of 91 defendants in the huge courtroom of the city of Lamezza Terme in Calabria (southern Italy), where a trial of hundreds of defendants has been held since January as members and collaborators of the Draganga organized crime syndicate.

Another 355 defendants are to be tried in this trial, as the process is expected to last two years or more.

The investigations took years and culminated in raids that took place in December 2019.

The 91 people on whom the verdicts were announced had chosen a short, closed-door trial, which allowed them, in case of conviction, to see their sentence reduced by a third.

Famous anti-mafia prosecutor Nicola Grateri – whose efforts to defeat Drangeta have forced him to live under police protection for more than 30 years – said everything went “very well” yesterday, Saturday.

“Of the 91 accused, 70 have been convicted,” he told Italian news agency AdnKronos, adding that those acquitted were minor players.

Some were sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison by prosecutors.

They are mainly Domenico Macri, the military branch of the organization, Pascual Gallone, the right hand of the supposed leader of the mafia Luigi Mancuso, whose trial continues, and Gregorio Nilia, who had the role of arms supplier and extorted .

About a third of the group was sentenced to ten years or more and 21 people were acquitted, Grateri said.

Of the eight for whom the prosecutor had requested 20 years in prison, six were sentenced, including 62-year-old Pasquale Gallone, who helped organize his boss’s three-year escape from 2014, two years. after Luigi Mancuso was released from prison after spending 19 years there.

The main defendants have not yet been tried

The main defendants, however, have chosen a canonical trial, including Luigi Mancuso, “Uncle”, 67, who is considered the head of the Drangeta families who ruled in the province of Vibo Valentia in Calabria, and the former senator and T Piteli, 68 years old.

Drangheta, based in Calabria, Italy’s poorest region, controls most of the cocaine entering Europe.

This network of about 150 families, claiming positions within the organization, has at least 6,000 members and associates in Calabria, while thousands of others support it around the world, according to experts.

Although it now operates internationally and its profits are reinvested in the legal economy, Drangeta’s ability to penetrate almost all parts of Calabria’s public administration has enabled it to obtain lucrative contracts and consolidate its power.

The defendants, who were convicted yesterday, Saturday, were charged with involvement in a mafia organization, attempted murder, money laundering, drug trafficking, extortion and illegal possession of firearms.

This large trial is taking place in a huge courtroom capable of accommodating the hundreds of lawyers defending their clients and the more than 900 prosecution witnesses and 58 defense witnesses.

The legendary great trial of 1986-1987 had dealt a severe blow to the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, resulting in 338 convictions.

Source: ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ

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Source From: Capital

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