Italy launches biggest mob lawsuit in decades

“This humble Calabrian family simply inherited some land located between plots belonging to the Mancuso family,” said Mr De Pace, referring to the Vincis. “Their son paid for his sense of justice with his life.”

Police last week revealed that a Calabrian farmer who went missing in 2016 and whose remains were never found was murdered and most likely pig-fed for refusing to sell land she owned. to a clan close to the Mancusos in the southern tip of Calabria.

Gangsters would also often kill their own affiliates if they didn’t follow their rules. Police are searching for the remains of a 35-year-old clan member who was shot and buried in a field in 2002, with the help of his own cousin, who later repented and is now collaborating with prosecutors. The murder was motivated by a suspicion that the man was gay, Calabrian police officials said.

Charges against the 325 defendants include murder, extortion, usury, money laundering, drug trafficking, bribery and membership in a criminal union. Prosecutors hope to prove the collusion between gangsters and officials, politicians, businessmen and members of secret lodges, an inextricable web of interests and favors, in Calabria and elsewhere in Italy.

Mr Gratteri, a Calabrian who has lived under police protection for three decades, entered the courtroom surrounded by bodyguards.

He said he was even more careful now with the ongoing trial. But he said the holding of the trial in Calabria, where locals have been “vexed and humiliated” by the mobsters for decades, was an important statement.

“It is a sign that the state is able to provide an answer,” he said, adding that the courtroom was built in a matter of months and has enabled nearly 1,000 people to attend. the procedure, seated more than a meter apart to comply with social distancing from the coronavirus. rules, with 150 screens connecting inmates sitting in prisons across the country.

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