In Rome and Catania, Italy continues its fight against mafia groups
Italian authorities this week arrested dozens of suspects and confiscated millions in assets as they stepped up operations against mafia groups in the country.
On Wednesday, police arrested 26 members of the ‘Ndrangheta in the Rome and Calabria region and seized more than 100 million euros in illicit assets, Italian state media ANSA reported.
“Ndrangheta is the most powerful criminal group in Italy and responsible for a significant part of drug trafficking in Europe.
Originating in Calabria, they overtook other mafia groups like the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the Neapolitan Camorra to take control of the cocaine trade across Europe. Their illicit income would represent more than 3% of Italy’s total GDP.
The group is divided into clans, known as the ‘Ndrine, and for years the rise of some ‘Ndrini outside their traditional range but in major centers like Rome and Milan has concerned Italian authorities. .
“Italian police on Wednesday crushed a Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta mafia gang that allegedly took control of a jumble of Roman businesses operating in many sectors of the Italian capital’s economy,” ANSA reported. According to the police, they had infiltrated everything from bakeries to fisheries to the leather and oil industry.
A day earlier in Catania, police arrested 21 suspected mobsters belonging to the Lineri family of Cosa Nostra, or the Sicilian Mafia. The group had been involved in extorting local businesses for so-called protection funds.
“The investigation began following the demand for extortion made against a well-known restaurateur in Catania who, in August 2019, was offered arson if he did not submit to the payment of the money of protection,” Italian state police said.
The restaurateur had also received another warning from the group, two 7.76 caliber bullets, suggesting that if he did not submit one would end up inside him. But following the threats, authorities were able to map the family from low-level enforcers to the top of the clan.
“The investigative activity made it possible to identify the authors of the extortion requests and to reconstruct the organization chart of the mafia association to which they belonged, among others linked by blood ties with the head of Cosa Nostra from the province of Catania,” state police said. “Twenty local businesses, after years of pressing claims, have now been freed from extortion by the mafia clan.”