Mercoledì, 17 Ottobre 2018

Italy lands big blow to mafia in Rome, Calabria


(by Kate Carlisle) Rome, July 26 - Two heavy blows were
served to mafia activity in Italy on Friday with sweeping
arrests near Rome and more arrests related to a separate probe
in the southern city of Lamezia Terme.
At least 51 people were arrested Friday in a massive,
no-bars-held anti-mafia operation in Rome aimed at squelching
criminal operations up and down the coast around the Italian
About 500 officers from several law-enforcement agencies
were involved, including special forces units, helicopter
patrols and canine squads.
Police say it is one of the largest anti-mafia sweeps in
Rome's history.
The stretch of Italy's southern mafias has recently
penetrated the country's capital and further north, including
Europe, worrying police and anti-mafia investigators.
Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said
that the "operation was carried out brilliantly. It is an
important result that strengthens confidence in public
institutions and secures our territory".
Key targets included the Fasciani, Triassi and D'Agati
clans, which have shared the criminal spoils of the region for
approximately 20 years, especially along the sea shore, in what
has been dubbed a "pax mafia".
Police say agents of the two clans dealt with land
management, planned murders and kept out rival criminals as they
ran gambling operations, controlled slot machine gaming and
other kinds of beach-related activity.
Entire families within the Fasciani clan have been
arrested, including alleged leaders and siblings Carmine,
Giuseppe, and Terenzio Nazarene.
Also arrested were Vito and Vincenzo Triassi who have
lifelong ties with the Sicilian Mafia known as 'Cosa Nostra'.
Charges range from international drug trafficking and
extortion to mafia affiliation.
Police also allege some gang members infiltrated municipal
operations in the beachside town of Ostia, where earlier this
month Rome police conducted raids.
Some of Friday's charges relate to allocation of social
housing managed by the municipality.
Earlier this month, Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino removed one
manager and a staff member from the administrative office under
suspicions tied to allegedly granting mafia members prized space
to operate kiosks.
Several Ostia employees were said to be under investigation
for abuse of office and corruption.
Friday's raids included international authorities that
raided the Spanish island of Tenerife, which has Triassi
In a separate anti-mafia operation on Friday Senator Piero
Aiello, a member of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of
Freedom (PdL) party, was placed under investigation as part of a
mafia probe that led to the arrest of 65 people in the southern
city of Lamezia Terme.
The probe, which also led to the seizure of 200 million
euros' worth of assets from five businessmen on Friday, is
centred on alleged crimes linked to the Giampà clan of the
Calabrian-based 'Ndrangheta mafia syndicate.
A judge rejected a request from anti-mafia investigators in
the Calabrian city of Catanzaro for Aiello to be arrested.
The investigation focuses on alleged insurance fraud which
the Giampà clan used to raise millions of euros to buy arms and
drugs and pay its recruits.
The 65 people arrested include entrepreneurs, local
politicians, lawyers, doctors and members of the penitentiary
Among them is Gianpaolo Bevilacqua, the vice president of
the company that runs Lamezia Terme airport and a former
provincial councillor for the PdL.
One of the lawyers arrested is accused of involvement in
paying the clam to obtain votes at Lamezia Terme city elections
in 2010.
The investigation also concerns a number of murders
committed in a war between clans from 2005 to 2011.
"The importance of this operation is not just in the number
and the characteristics of the people under investigation and
the quantity of police officers employed, which was around 400,"
Catanzaro police chief Guido Marino told ANSA.
"Above all, the important thing is that we know we have
tracked down and, in part, dismantled a full-blown mafia
'Ndrangheta controls swathes of Calabria and, thanks to its
control of the European cocaine trade, has infiltrated the
economies of northern Italy, northern Europe, Canada, Australia
and other countries.
It is now ranked Italy's most powerful mafia, having
overtaken Sicily's Cosa Nostra, and the one hardest to recruit
informants from.

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