- Obama: Hole U.S. ‘digging out of’ requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: ‘I do’
Italy probes crime group, arrests 305, seizes assets
Prosecutors infiltrate weddings, baptisms
Question of the Day
MILAN, Italy | Anti-mafia prosecutors claimed a major victory over the powerful and growing ‘ndrangheta crime syndicate, infiltrating intimate weddings, baptisms and other gatherings to gather information that led to the arrests Friday of 305 people, including top bosses, and the seizure of more than $75 million worth of cash and property.
One of the most significant revelations to emerge from the investigation was that the Calabrian mob had a tight hierarchal structure like that of the Sicilian Mafia, and wasn’t just an association of clans as previously believed.
While expanding its economic reach into the wealthy Lombard region in northern Italy, the ‘ndrangheta also is concentrating its power in its native Calabria, exerting tight control over all strategic decision making, anti-mafia prosecutors said.
The operation began before dawn with the 4 a.m. arrest of Domenico Oppedisano, the crime group’s top boss, in the small coastal town of Rosarno in Calabria.
But the investigation owed its success to investigators’ ability to infiltrate events like the 2009 wedding of the children of two crime bosses in Calabria, attended by thousands of well-wishers, where Mr. Oppedisano was named to his post, said Calabrian anti-mafia prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone.
When Mr. Oppedisano was formally elevated some two weeks later, on Sept. 2, the feast of Madonna Polsi, undercover agents got video of the crime syndicate’s major bosses all being confirmed in their new positions in the structure, he said.
That includes some 40 similar meetings in Lombardy, which has become the Calabrian mob’s moneymaking center, with operations focusing on excavations for construction sites, trash disposal and real estate. While officials seized $75.41 million worth of cash and property, prosecutors are unable to estimate how much the ‘ndrangheta is cashing in each year.
Wiretaps indicate that as many as 500 ‘ndrangheta mobsters are operating in Lombardy, where 160 were arrested. They include Pino Neri, whom police said was in charge of the gang’s businesses in Milan, where the ‘ndrangheta has been making major inroads.
The investigation revealed the ‘ndrangheta was extremely “hierarchical, united and pyramidal,” and not just clan-based as previously believed, said Italy’s chief anti-mafia prosecutor Piero Grasso.
That became clear when the Lombard branch, empowered by its riches, attempted to exert autonomy and was cut short when the Calabrian bosses sent a professional killer to murder the would-be upstarts, Mr. Pignatone said.
The ‘ndrangheta has emerged as one of the most powerful of the crime syndicates, even if only since February has Italian law recognized it as a criminal organization. From Calabria, it has spread its tentacles to northern Italy, where it migrated in the 1970s and 1980s, to Germany, and as far away as Canada and Australia.
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- Federal deficit shrinks 20 percent in fiscal 2014
- Colorado judge: Bakery owner discriminated against gay couple
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Great discoveries in the world of restaurants and chefs fulfill the quest for delicious food and cooking.
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Red Alert focuses on the hottest political topics in the nation and calls Americans to action.
History doesn't have to be grim; there is a lot to be learned from the pages of time.
White House pets gone wild!