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Italian police probe helicopter wedding for mafia links

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Italian police probe helicopter wedding for mafia links
A helicopter landing is one way to make a wedding memorable. File photo: Pexels
13:04 CEST+02:00
Anti-mafia police are probing a Calabrian couple who had their local town centre closed off for their wedding.

The couple's entrance by helicopter - landing in the local churchyard - was the highlight of the celebrations in Nicotera, a town in the Vibo Valentia area of Calabria.

The couple, named as Antonio and Aurora Gallone, and their 400 wedding guests had the entire historic area to themselves, with the central square closed to the public for three hours.

However, police are concerned that the local branch of the mafia may have been involved; mayor Franco Pagano told local press that the helicopter's landing had had no official authorization, but the area was cordoned off with official barriers, suggesting the complicity of someone working for the municipal authorities.

Prosecutor Michele Sirgiovanni said it was a "very serious matter". In the past decade alone, the council of Nicotera has been dissolved due to mafia infiltration, in 2005 and 2010, and in February of this year the city created a committee to investigate reports of infiltration in public authorities by the Mancusa clan, part of the 'ndrangheta mafia group.

According to Il Corriere, the groom is a grandson of clan members. Antonio Gallone has never been charged with any offences linked to organized crime, but has a previous conviction of growing cannabis in 2011.

Prosecutors will examine the wedding guest list and photos shared on social media to determine if any members of the local administration were behind the stunt.

Pagano said his office had received a request for a helicopter landing on the local sports field, which had been passed to the relevant department. The wedding helicopter set off from that field, but on the return from its trip to the Aeolian islands for wedding pictures, it landed at the town centre at sunset to continue the ceremony.

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