In a historic ruling following one of Italy's largest mafia trials, more than 200 'Ndrangheta gang members received sentences totaling over 2,200 years.
The trial, involving over 300 defendants accused of being part of the powerful crime group, covered charges ranging from murder and corruption to drug trafficking and money laundering.
The 'Ndrangheta, founded in the 18th century in Calabria, has evolved into one of the world's most influential criminal organizations, active on every continent. Controlling 80% of Europe's cocaine trade, it boasts an estimated annual turnover of £52bn.
The three-year legal battle saw mafiosi, entrepreneurs, and politicians facing justice. Notably, 67 defendants from the original indictment chose a speedy trial, resulting in guilty verdicts. However, more than 80 defendants were found not guilty.
Among those convicted are infamous figures like 'The Wolf' Domenico Tomaino (17 years), 'Fatty' Francesco Barbieri (24 years), and 'The Musician' Vincenzo Barba (28 years).
Even high-profile figures like ex-Forza Italia MP Giancarlo Pittelli received an 11-year sentence for being a mafia go-between.
The 'maxi trial' focused on the Mancuso family, one of 'Ndrangheta's key clans. Luigi Mancuso, known as 'The Uncle,' is set to face a separate trial, with his nephew Emanuele already testifying against the organization.
The crackdown on 'Ndrangheta began in December 2019, involving special forces and elite units. The operation, named Rinascita-Scott, led to the arrest of 300 suspects and the seizure of millions of euros in properties and cash.
Chief prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, Italy's renowned anti-mafia figure, orchestrated the investigation, enduring 34 years of living under police protection due to numerous death threats.
Despite the dangers, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni affirmed Italy's commitment to combat organized crime, declaring the government's determination to confront this ever-changing enemy.
[With information sourced from Sky News]