Lamezia Terme is only the third largest city in Calabria, a region in southern Italy. But this is where the second largest trial in the history of the peninsula has been held since Wednesday January 13. A bunker was even built for the occasion. As in 1986, when hundreds of Sicilian mafiosi from Cosa nostra appeared, representatives of a criminal organization that has become the most powerful in Italy, with a turnover of 50 billion euros, are at the helm. Indeed, the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta has become, over the years, number 1 in Europe for the trafficking of cocaine that it imports to the port of Gioia Tauro; it is also very strong in the construction sector or in the recruitment of agricultural workers.
In total, 325 members of the ‘Ndrangheta and accomplices – small hands, local elected officials – will appear. Among them, the lawyer Giancarlo Pittelli, former senator of Forza Italia, the party of Silvio Berlusconi, and since passed in the post-fascist formation Brothers of Italy. 900 witnesses should also be heard.
Clans organized on a family basis
This trial will not succeed in dismantling this organization which has its ramifications all over Europe – in 2007, six Italians were killed in Duisburg, Germany, against a backdrop of clan warfare – and which has no less than 150 “ndrine” ( clans) and is said to have thousands of members. On the other hand, he will auscultate all the criminal activities of the Mancuso clan which dominates the area of Vibo Valentia, and whose “boss”, Luigi, 66 years old, 20 of whom have already been behind bars will appear.
Unlike the other Italian mafias, the Neapolitan Camorra, the Pouillaise Sacra corona unita or Cosa nostra, the ‘Ndrangheta has withstood the legal assaults of recent years well, because it is organized on a family basis. As a result, few of its members agreed to collaborate with justice – which was tantamount to denouncing a brother, a father.
Fifty-eight people, however, agreed to testify. Among them was a family member, Emanuele Mancuso, who decided to repent when he learned of the impending birth of his daughter. He is now considered a traitor by his wife, his mother and his other relatives, who remained in the clan.