More than 200 defendants in one of Italy’s biggest mafia trials for generations have ended. The accused were sentenced to a total of more than 2,200 years in prison, world media reported.
The three-year trial saw individuals allegedly linked to the ‘Ndrangheta convicted of crimes ranging from extortion to drug trafficking.
Among those convicted is a former Italian senator, but the convictions can still be appealed.
The ‘Ndrangheta is one of the most influential criminal organizations in Europe.
The case illustrates the widespread influence of the Mafia on politics and society in southern Italy. Experts said the convictions of white-collar workers, including local officials, businessmen and politicians, showed the far-reaching impact of organized crime on Italian institutions.
Among the most prominent people to be convicted was Giancarlo Pittelli, a lawyer and former senator from former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party. Pitely received an 11-year sentence for complicity with a mafia organization.
Other convicts included civil servants, professionals in various industries and high-ranking officials who were critical to the ‘Ndrangheta’s success in penetrating the legitimate economy and state institutions.
More than 100 defendants were acquitted.
The judges presiding over the case were placed under police guard due to concerns for their safety.
Hailing from the impoverished region of Calabria, the ‘Ndrangheta is considered one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the world. It is believed to control up to 80% of the cocaine market in Europe.