Decades later, a major crackdown on Italy’s notorious Darangita mafia took three hours to unravel
Italy has launched a lawsuit against alleged members of the country’s most powerful Mafia, calling it the first case of its kind against a major criminal group in decades.
The trial comes after a lengthy investigation into alleged crimes committed by members of the Daranghita group. The 335 members of the group involved in the case and corrupt government employees are accused of various crimes.
More than 900 witnesses are expected to be called to testify in the case. The crimes against the Mafia include murder, drug trafficking, extortion, ransom, and money laundering.
The trial is set to begin on Wednesday, January 13, and is expected to last more than two years.
The trial is taking place in a building in the northern part of Calabria, with special modifications.
The building, located in the Italian town of Lamezia Terme, used to be a call center. The trial has been transformed into a fortified courthouse where hundreds of people can watch the proceedings simultaneously. No major mafia case has been prosecuted in Italy since the 1980s.
Who are the accused?
Between 1986 and 1992, he prosecuted several large families involved in crime in Sicily. In contrast to these cases, the current court proceedings will focus on only one group, the so-called Mankusa family. The family is a vital part of the Darangita Mafia, whose fabric is spread far and wide.
The Daranghita Mafia is a criminal group and is said to be in the Mankoso family’s hands in the Calabria region.
According to AFP, the list of accused cases and the charges against them is so long that it took more than three hours for the court staff to explain the crimes before the formal hearing.
The suspects include politicians, police officers, government officials, alleged members of the group, and individuals found guilty of various crimes.
The biggest of the suspects is 66-year-old Leogi Mankosa, who is allegedly the group leader and is commonly known as “Uncle.” Other suspects are commonly known by their nicknames, such as ‘wolf,’ ‘fatty’ (fat), or ‘blonde’ (blonde).
The total number of accused in this case was more than four hundred. However, 92 of them chose the courts where cases are heard daily, and cases are decided quickly.
The defendants include Giancarlo Patel, a lawyer by profession and a Senate member from Forza Italia, the party of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Mr. Patel denies the allegations, saying he helped the Darangita Mafia gain access to the world of politics and other powerful institutions such as the courts.
Most of the suspects were detained in the dark of December 2019 as authorities raided various Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Bulgaria.
What are the charges?
Most of the cocaine shipments to Europe from North America and some other areas are said to be under the Darangita Mafia’s control.
But the long list of crimes against the accused named in this case includes several crimes in addition to drug trafficking against hundreds of people. These include allegations of links to the Mafia, murder, attempted murder, extortion, ransom, disclosure of government secrets, and state power abuse.
According to Federico Versi, a professor at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, the recent trial shows just how far the roots of the Mafia have spread in Italian society.
“It’s amazing to see the roots of a criminal gang spread so far in an area that you have to prosecute hundreds of people,” he told AFP.