Prosecutors had sought convictions for 322 accused members of the mafia operating in Calabria province and their accomplices, seeking 30 years in prison for ten ‘Ndrangheta decision-makers.
About 200 people were sentenced on Monday, but only four leading members received the maximum sentence. The rest were formally or actually acquitted.
One of the most prominent defendants in the trial, 70-year-old former member of parliament and lawyer Giancarlo Pitelli, was sentenced to 11 years, less than the 17 years requested by prosecutors.
The verdicts, which can be appealed, ended Italy’s biggest mafia trial in decades and marked the biggest blow yet to one of the world’s most powerful organized crime syndicates.
The ‘Ndrangheta originated in the impoverished southern Italian region of Calabria, but now has almost complete control of the European cocaine trade and operates in more than 40 countries worldwide.
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Experts estimate that the ‘Ndrangheta, made up of around 150 Calabrian families and their affiliates, makes more than 50 billion euros annually worldwide from drug trafficking, money lending, extortion and extortion.
Using shell companies and the favor of the elite, the ‘Ndrangheta invests the illegally obtained funds in the legal economy, consolidating its power.
For the first time, the list of defendants included many non-mafia figures, including a high-ranking police official, mayors and other public officials and businessmen.
Since the start of the trial in January 2021, the court has heard thousands of hours of testimony, including more than 50 former mafia operatives who have become state witnesses.