The ‘Ndrangheta mafia continues to be a target of global law enforcement looking to stop its illegal gambling, drug distribution and human trafficking empire. It’s still a massive network that is hard to dismantle, but a new police sweep will take a bite out of its operations.
Italian Insider reports that police have arrested 202 people in Italy in the latest police coup against the powerful mafia, known to have its hands in anything illegal. They took out a major component of the organization in the city of Cosenza, as well as in other parts of the Calabria region.
Among those police placed on house arrest is the mayor of the town of Rende, Marcello Manna. He is a well-known, but disbarred, criminal lawyer, accused of having bought a favorable sentence for a client. In addition, police took in the councilor for the Cosenza Municipality, Francesco De Cicco, and other government officials.
Tearing Down the House
The police operation was the product of an investigation by the Catanzaro anti-mafia prosecutor’s office. It resulted in the arrest of political figures, businessmen and others.
From within the criminal syndicate, different ‘Ndrangheta families are now a little thinner. These include the as the Patitucci, Porcaro, Presta, Puppo-D’Ambrosio and Abbruzzese and more.
Among the crimes global investigators accuse them of are that of mafia-type associations. These include criminal association for the purpose of drug trafficking, aggravated by mafia methods and purposes, criminal association with the aim of committing crimes inherent in the illicit organization of gambling activities, money laundering and fraudulent transfer of property and securities.
In addition to the arrests, police seized a number of companies and real estate assets. In total, they confiscated property worth over €72 million (US$71.81 million).
According to the research, the most lucrative business was undoubtedly that of obtaining public contracts. This was because of relations with politicians and officials, such as for the construction of tourist complexes on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea between Sardinia and mainland Italy.
Alleged ‘Ndrangheta Member Falls in Brazil
Last week, Brazilian police arrested a member of the ‘Ndrangheta clan. They suspected him of sending large amounts of cocaine to Italy hidden in marble and granite slabs. The suspect is Joseph Bruzzese, a criminal European authorities have had their eye on for a while.
In the operation, a Brazilian, whose identity was not identified, was also arrested in the state of Santa Catarina. Police conducted searches there, as well as in Espírito Santo and Goiás, and seized evidence to support their claims.
The investigations advanced from December 28, 2020, when Italian authorities seized 338 kilograms of cocaine in the port of La Spezia. In that incident, police arrested a Brazilian, an Italian and two Albanians.
This past July, Brazil extradited fellow Italian mobster Rocco Morabito to Italy. Police arrested him in May of last year after he escaped from a prison in Uruguay and made his way to Brazil.
Continued Mob Enforcement
The ‘Ndrangheta is a massive global operation. Its influence extends across all continents, and some of its members have been regulars in casinos.
However, increased international pressure to disband the organization has produced results. There are now regular arrests of individuals with alleged ties to the group.
When these occur, such as with Bashkim Osmani in Spain a few months ago, Italy’s anti-mafia police forces find more ways to intervene.
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