Carolina Girasole was arrested on Tuesday morning in Isola Capo Rizzuto, where she served as mayor from 2008 to 2013, La Repubblica reported.
She is accused of buying votes from the Arena clan, part of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia, in exchange for favours when in office. She was arrested along with a policeman and 11 members of the mafia clan, La Repubblica said.
Girasole has been described by the Italian media as an “anti-mafia icon” for campaigning against the region’s ‘Ndrangheta mafia, one of the world’s most powerful criminal organizations.
Speaking at a 2010 anti-mafia protest, Girasole said she was “against the ‘Ndrangheta” and urged people to do their bit to beat the mafia. “Perhaps in the end we can do it, but you must get involved and make your own contribution,” Girasole said.
She was one of the first Calabrian mayors to campaign against the ‘Ndrangheta, La Repubblica said.