Italy Starts Trialing 350 Alleged Mafia Members | DW News

well the largest mafia trial in over three decades is starting in italy the defendants include more than 350 suspects they are members of one of the world’s most feared organized crime groups the endran gaeta they are accused of offenses dating back to the 1990s including murder drug trafficking extortion and money laundering dw’s max sanders spoke to the lead prosecutors in the case and also a former mobster turned informant who fears for his life now he has to move quickly the chief prosecutor of catanzado nicolas has powerful enemies italy’s number one mafia hunter is leading the fight against the notorious calabrian network thendrangita there are men of the indrangeta within the public administration they attempt to manage it in whole or in part trying to succeed in dominating not only on the economic level but also on the administrative and political level grateri has been fighting them for more than 30 years and he has been preparing a strong message to send to the calabrian families and the public over the next two years more than 350 mafiosi and accomplices will take this stand in the biggest mafia trial in decades here in a specially built bunker courtroom set up to accommodate them together with hundreds of lawyers and witnesses the family’s reach and influence go far beyond calabria over the years its business model has evolved from fighting bloody wars in the streets to more sophisticated financial crime the indrangata now operates in the shadows for example by importing tons of cocaine from latin america and quietly buying power and influence all over europe this and their twisted but strong sense of family are the main reasons why it’s so hard to fight the family clans luigi bonaventura tells us now working with prosecutors he was raised to become a powerful mafusi you start with guns as a child they make you shoot they carry guns and you’re a kid and it’s all a game to you the other kids have toy guns but your guns are real you’re not afraid of being beaten but of disappointing those who are training you when a ventura smuggled drugs extorted people and even participated in murders but after the birth of his second child he decided this life was no longer for him and turned against his own family when it became known they ambushed me twice within 12 hours the first time i managed to escape the second time i was armed and returned fire wounding three people they tried to kill me several times and set fire to my wife’s shop since then aventura has helped authorities put hundreds of mafiosi behind bars he welcomes the efforts of prosecutors like krateri but he is not the only one worried then drangeta will fight back they have understood that if they knock me down all this great work and this great team will stop there are thousands and thousands of people who believe in me and therefore i am the last hope so this also gives me courage and helps we have to carry on whatever it takes if i pulled out today i would feel like a coward while this trial won’t free calabria from the clutches of the mafia it is a real chance to bring attention to the cause of suffering for millions of people not just here in italy and let’s bring in correspondent maxander who you also saw there and that report max is standing by for us in limitia terme where the trial is taking place max what’s expected right this is a historic day not just for calabria but also for italy this is a very important trial that just is about to kick off um but to understand the magnitude of this process it’s important to understand how the andrangata operates their core businesses to import cocaine from latin america to europe they make a lot of money with it they control the majority of the cocaine trafficking and and selling and throughout throughout europe and they use this money to invest to buy power to buy influence to buy politicians and even for legitimate uh legitimate businesses and a lot of white-collar crimes and the aim of this process is not to take out the andran gata but more so to shine a light on their business shine a light how they operate in the shadows we’ve just heard from a witness from the prosecutor in your report the trial is of course dangerous for them how do they handle that right it’s incredibly dangerous uh for ex malfiosi who cooperate uh with the authorities that’s why there are so few actually but even for the chief prosecutor we talked to nikola grateri he has he is from the region he is from calabria he grew up with some of the mafiosi that he’s putting uh putting away putting behind bars uh in the in the process of this uh this this this trial um he tells us he played with soccer with him in the streets he knows their mentality and as a kid at a very early age when he would go to school he’d walk past bodies people shot dead by by the mafia so he decided an early point that he wanted to do something against it and he has been living at a great risk for a very long time he has been under police protection for 30 years he told us yesterday that he sleeps in a bunker eats in his office he doesn’t have a life and he lives with constant death threats but he also says it’s worth it even having a target on his back because if he can take back the country from the mafia and give it back to law-abiding citizens then it’s worth living like that do citizens seem to agree that it is indeed worth it max people that you’ve been speaking with there what has been the reaction given the influence of this group in calabria and also perhaps the fear among some that they could retaliate look the reactions are twofold um you have the anti-mafia movement people who are active against the corruption um who suffer from the corruption and people who are just simply afraid of the mafia but on the other hand you have a lot of benefactors a lot of people who who benefit from government contracts for example business people who benefit from who get uh who get assignments uh from politicians who are in the pockets of the mafia so the endurance they have tools to control public and to control the public opinion and this is also something that we’ve seen here that they are attempting to do so leading up to this trial today max sander in la mezza terme where the trial is getting underway thank you you
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