OVER 200 mobsters from a notorious Italian clan behind a string of brutal killings have been jailed for over 2,200 years in the country’s biggest-ever Mafia trial.
A total of 207 ‘Ndrangheta gang members were finally sentenced today, after a staggering three-year-long trial.
‘Ndrangheta is one of the world’s most powerful, wealthy, and violent criminal organisations in the world.
It is also believed to control a whopping 70 per cent of Europe’s cocaine trade, having an estimated annual turnover of £80billion.
It originally started inside an ultra-secure bunker courtroom in Calabria, where the notorious ‘Ndrangheta organisation was initially based.
Since 2020, the court of Vibo Valentia has countless hours of testimony, including from more than 50 former mafia operatives turned state witnesses.
The witnesses detailed several examples of the gang’s former brutalities, from carrying out violent ambushes to hoarding weapons.
Those who opposed ‘Ndrangheta claimed to have found dead puppies, dolphins, and goat heads dumped outside of their homes, as well as have had their cars torched by the violent gang members.
Among those in the dock today were notorious mobsters Domenico Tomaino, Francesco Barbieri, and Vincenzo Barba.
Known as The Wolf”, Tomaino got 17 years in prison, Barbieri, known as “Fatty” got 24 years behind bars, and Barba, known as “The Musician” was sentenced to 28 years.
Ex-Forza Italia MP Giancarlo Pittelli, one of the most high-profile defendants, also received 11 years for being a mafia go-between.
The bosses of two ‘Ndrangheta clans, Saverio Razionale and Domenico Bonavota, both got 30 years, according to reports.
Several others were charged with acting in complicity with the ‘Ndrangheta without actually being a member.
The huge trial focused on one of the clan’s key families – the Mancusos.
Luigi Mancuso, widely known as the family’s “Godfather” and dubbed “The Uncle”, is set to face a separate trial – with his nephew having already given evidence against the organisation.
Millions ofworth of properties and cash were seized, while 300 suspects were detained.
The first trial then took place two years later in January 2021, which saw alleged members of the ‘NDrangheta – including corrupt politicians – locked in cages during hearings that took place at a huge call centre in Calabria that was converted into a courtroom.
It seated almost 1,000 lawyers, judges, prosecutors, and spectators who took part in the trial that exposed the inner workings of Italy‘s most secretive mafia.
Investigators revealed 24,000 wiretaps and bugged conversations to back up charges of murder, extortion, and drug dealing.
A total of 355 suspected mobsters were involved in this trial, including The Uncle and The Wolf, alongside other notorious names in the mafia world Fatty, Big Nose, and Blondie.
In November 2021, after almost a year-long trial, almost 100 mobsters were finally convicted.
Judge Claudio Paris read out verdicts and sentences against 91 defendants in the massive call centre, and some of the group’s most dangerous members received the maximum 20-year sentence requested by prosecutors.
They included Domenico Macri of the group’s military wing plus Pasquale Gallone, the right-hand man of Mancuso, whose trial is still pending.
More than 300 remained to be judged in proceedings that were expected to last two years or longer, and that finally took place earlier today.
For more than 150 years, the deadly Calabrian clan has remained practically impenetrable to law enforcement due to its members operating almost exclusively on blood ties, and the strict code of omerta — the Mafia code of silence.
Yet at the turn of this century, four Mafia women sent shockwaves through the criminal underworld, becoming some of the first members ever to testify against their own.
Lea Garofalo was born into the ’Ndrangheta and when her father was murdered by a rival, her brother took over the family business.
By 16 she had married Cosco, a “farmer” who turned out to be a cocaine smuggler.
He regularly physically abused her, and she claimed she was suicidal for years until the birth of their daughter Denise in 1992.
In 2002 Lea found the courage to leave Cosco and fled with Denise, then ten, to become a police informant, lifting the lid on a bloody civil war between two ’Ndrangheta families that left 40 dead.
It was adapted from British journalist Alex Perry’s book of the same name, which tells of the courage and grisly fates of those who were trapped in the ’Ndrangheta.
Alex told The Sun: “The ’Ndrangheta is like a cult.
“If you’re going to turn against it you’re betraying everyone you’ve ever known and your closest family.
“The courage of these women is two-fold. For one, it’s what you’re risking.”