ROME (AP) — Verdicts are expected Monday in the trial of hundreds of people accused of membership in Italy’s ’ndrangheta organized crime syndicate, one of the world’s most powerful, extensive and wealthy drug-trafficking groups.
The trial started almost three years ago in the southern Calabria region, where the mob organization was originally based. The ’ndrangheta quietly amassed power in Italy and abroad as the Sicilian Mafia lost influence.
The syndicate now holds almost a monopoly on cocaine importation in Europe, according to anti-mafia prosecutors who led the investigation in southern Italy. The organization also has bases in North and South America and is active in Africa, Italian prosecutors maintain, and ’ndrangheta figures have been arrested in recent years around Europe and in Brazil and Lebanon.
The trial took place in a specially constructed high-security bunker. Part of an industrial park in Lamezia Terme, the bunker is so vast that video screens were anchored to the ceiling so participants could view the proceedings.
More than 320 defendants are charged with crimes that include drug and arms…
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