‘Ndranghetista cited in Italian-Albanian drugs gang

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(ANSA) – MILAN, MAR 10 – A member of the Calabria-based ‘Ndrangheta mafia was cited Wednesday in a probe that saw Milan
police arrest 17 Italian and Albanians in a suspected narcotics
ring that allegedly brought drugs worth over 20 million euros a
year from Spain into the Lombardy capital.
    The alleged ‘Ndranghetista, , Salvatore Celini, is a member of
the Bellocco clan which is dominant in the Calabrian city of
Rosarno, police said.
    Another member of the alleged gang was a former police officer,
Giuseppe Galimi, who allegedly use the expertise he gained on
the job to help the drug runners evade capture.
    Galimi has now become a “hardened criminal”, police said.
    ‘Ndrangheta is Italy’s richest and most powerful mafia thanks to
its control of the European cocaine trade.
    All its activities have been estimated to be worth the
equivalent of at least three per cent of Italian GDP.
    Its tentacles have spread from its southern Italian base to
central and northern Italy, northern Europe, North and South
America and Australia, among other areas.
    Its influence is especially strong in the affluent northern
Italian regions of Lombardy, Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna, but it
has also spread to Lazio and Rome.
    The other main mafias in Italy are Cosa Nostra in Sicily, long
more powerful and dangerous than ‘Ndrangheta, and the Camorra in
Campania.
    There is a smaller mafia in Puglia, the Sacra Corona Unita
(United Holy Crown, SCU), which is generally considered less
dangerous and expansive.
    The biggest ever trial into ‘Ndrangheta started in Lamezia Terme
in mid-January.
    The trial delves into the activities of the ‘Ndrangheta clans in
Vibo Valentia and their links to the political, institutional,
economic and rogue Masonic worlds controlling all aspects of
local life in Calabria.
    It is the biggest mafia trial in Italy since the so-called ‘maxi-trial’ of Cosa Nostra in Sicily from 1986 to 1992.
    The trial, which is expected to last around three years, has
over 300 defendants who are facing hundreds if charges.
    The defendants include local politicians, businessmen, police
and other institutional figures accused of helping ‘Ndrangheta
hold sway over Calabrian life.
    “We will show the asphyxiation of Calabrian life by ‘Ndrangheta,” said prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, who has been in
police protection for almost 30 years, in his opening remarks.
    (ANSA).
   

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