Cops crush Ndrangheta clan in Lombardy – english
(ANSA) – ROME, OCT 5 – Italian police on Tuesday crushed a Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta mafia clan operating in the affluent northern Lombardy region around Milan.
Arresting seven suspected mafiosi, the police declared that Esce-Bellocco de Rosarno, near Reggio Calabria, was “particularly active in Lombard territory”.
Those arrested were variously accused of mafia association, extortion, fraudulent transfer of goods and valuables and aggravated misappropriation by mafia methods, as well as fraudulent bankruptcy and money laundering, the police said.
Some of those arrested belong to other historic ‘Ndrangheta families long established in the Lecco and Como regions, police said.
“The Ndrangheta has become the most powerful and richest mafia in Italy thanks to its control of the European cocaine trade.
Its tentacles have spread throughout Italy and around the world.
The Italian police have gradually dug behind the wall of silence or omerta ‘which for’ Ndrangheta is even more impenetrable than that of Cosa Nostra in Sicily.
The biggest ‘Ndrangheta trial on record began in Lamezia Terme in January.
The trial explores the activities of the ‘Ndrangheta clans in Vibo Valentia and their connections to the rogue political, institutional, economic and Masonic worlds controlling all aspects of local life in Calabria.
This is the biggest mafia trial in Italy since the Cosa Nostra “maxi-trial” in Sicily from 1986 to 1992.
The trial, which is expected to last around three years, has more than 300 defendants facing more than 400 charges.
The defendants include local politicians, businessmen, police officers and other institutional figures accused of helping ‘Ndrangheta rule Calabrian life.
In January 2015, police arrested more than 160 people in the largest operation ever against a commercial branch in northern ‘Ndrangheta.
The operation showed how the former southern kidnapper gangs – long poor relations with Cosa Nostra in Sicily but now plump with cocaine – had infiltrated the economies of the wealthiest parts of Italy, in especially the flourishing economy of Reggio Emilia around Bologna.
Other probes showed infiltration of ‘Ndrangheta in the area around Milan, Lombardy, the area around Genoa, Liguria, and the area around Turin, Piedmont.
In February 2014, a major collapse between Italy and the FBI showed that ‘Ndrangheta was interested in the drug operations of one of Cosa Nostra’s five historic families in New York, the Gambinos.
Before that, in July 2010, a massive police operation took over the ‘Ndrangheta and 300 others.
Domenico Oppedisano, 80, anointed the equivalent of the “boss of bosses” in Cosa Nostra at a Calabrian shrine to Our Lady a year earlier, was captured along with their famous leader in Lombardy, Pino Neri.
“The Ndrangheta is so secret that Oppedisano’s replacement is still not known.
‘Ndrangheta (from a Greek word meaning’ heroism ‘or’ virtue ‘) once lived in the twin shadow of Cosa Nostra in Sicily and the Camorra in Naples.
While these two unions, especially the Sicilians, fed off the transatlantic heroin trade through operations such as the infamous “French connection”, “Ndrangheta was barely out of his traditional stockpile of kidnappings in the Calabrian highlands.
It has since grown into a highly sophisticated global network with a grip on the European cocaine trade and control over parts of its territory where police are afraid to step, according to Italian officials.
As well as being the richest, the ‘Ndrangheta is also considered the most impenetrable of the Italian mafias, with its tight-knit family organization surpassing the Sicilian mafia in its ability to defeat the efforts of the police to turn its members into witnesses of the state.
The European law enforcement agency Europol has identified the “Ndrangheta mafia” as one of the “most threatening” organized crime groups globally, due to its “enormous financial power” and its ” immense power of corruption “, with a presence in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, the United States, Colombia and Australia, where the turf wars of the Ndrangheta made the headlines.
In Europe, ‘Ndrangheta didn’t really go public until 2007, when six members of the clan were gunned down during Ferragosto’s summer vacation in the German town of Duisburg in a feud that began as a marriage in a small Calabrian coastal town, San Luca, in 1991.
A series of Ndrangheta-related businesses have been seized in recent years across northern Italy, and in particular in the wealthy Lombard belt around Milan, and a Lombardy regional adviser has been indicted for buying voices to transplanted clans.
On the Italian Riviera, the municipalities of Bordighera and Ventimiglia were dissolved for infiltration of ‘Ndrangheta in 2011 and 2012, the first non-Calabrian municipalities to be dissolved due to such penetration.
In Rome, the Calabrian Mafia has laundered money at a slew of plum properties, as evidenced by recent foreclosures which police say are just the tip of the iceberg.
In November 2013, the Grand Hotel Gianicolo, a former monastery converted into a four-star hotel for the jubilee of the Catholic Church in 2000, was seized from Calabrian businessmen with ties to ‘Ndrangheta.
This is one of the more chic properties on the hill, Gianicolo or Janiculum, which offers one of the most breathtaking views over Rome.
Ten years ago, a former Dolce Vita-era bar and restaurant on Via Veneto, the Caffe ‘De Paris, turned out to be in the hands of the Calabrian mafia.
More recently, gangsters involved in a hitherto unknown criminal organization in Rome who allegedly had their fingers in a network of commercial and political operations have reportedly been linked to other mafias, including ‘Ndrangheta. (ANSA).