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CRIME

Two arrested for sending poo-stained toilet paper to thousands of celebrities

Two people have been arrested in northern Italy for allegedly sending thousands of threatening letters - often including toilet paper stained with faeces - to public figures.

Two arrested for sending poo-stained toilet paper to thousands of celebrities
File photo: Pexels

The bizarre scheme had been going on for two years, with the letters sent to high profile figures from the worlds of sport, TV, business and politics.

The Milan branch of Digos, Italy's anti-terrorism squad, tracked down the pair and arrested them on Wednesday for threats and defamation. The senders were a 71-year-old former police officer and his partner, aged 51, Ansa reported.

“The man followed the news closely and was very up-to-date on things,” Digos officer Carmine Mele told the news agency. “He had sent the letters practically everywhere.”

They sent threatening messages to the directors of Copenhagen Zoo, teachers accused of child abuse, football clubs and politicians, and many others. Many of the envelopes included toilet paper soiled with their pet dog's faeces.

A notebook found in the couple's home contained names and addresses of the unlucky recipients – along with the reason for targeting them.

As shown in a photo of the book shared by police, names were divided into categories, including “murderer” “paedophile” and “corruption”. A raid on the couple's house reportedly revealed 110 more letters, all addressed, stamped and ready to be sent.

A page from the notebook found in the couple's home. Photo: Italian police

Digos officers were able to track down the pair after observing the letters all shared some similar characteristics: black ink, cursive writing, and stamps from foreign countries (most often Azerbaijan, Bhuta and Zaire). The letters were then traced to Milan.

Oolice caught the two in the act, posting yet another letter in a letterbox in the Basiglio district of the northern city – as shown in the police video below. 

 

 

MAFIA

Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

In its latest mafia sting, Italian police took down a large 'Ndrangheta ring in southern Calabria, placing 56 people under investigation including a regional councillor and a former head of the regional tourism board.

Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

The early-morning blitz by over 300 police focused on areas of Calabria – Italy’s poorest region – under the control of the Mancuso clan, a powerful branch of the infamous ‘Ndrangheta, many of whose top operatives are among hundreds of defendants in an ongoing ‘maxi-trial’.

Fifty-six people, many already in prison, were put under criminal investigation for a series of crimes including mafia-related conspiracy, extortion, kidnapping, bribery and possession of weapons, police and prosecutors said.

READ ALSO: ‘Ndrangheta: It’s time to bust some myths about the Calabrian mafia

Besides alleged mafia members, the operation also snared businessmen, a regional councillor released from prison days earlier, a former head of the regional tourism board and two civil servants, police said.

The incarcerated boss of the clan, Luigi Mancuso, also known as “The Supreme”, is the biggest mafioso in the massive mafia trial that started in January 2021.

Still, police said, his clan and affiliates, including the La Rosa and Accortini families, have continued to dominate illegal activities in the Vibo Valentia province, which is located right on the toe of Italy’s boot and is widely known as the ‘Coast of the Gods’ due to its stunning coastal views.

One mafia scheme involved the infiltration of a foreign tour operator in Pizzo Calabro, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.

No one talks

In Calabria, the extent of the ‘Ndrangheta’s reach in the local economy has made it near impossible to eradicate it.

By controlling the bulk of cocaine flowing into Europe, the ‘Ndrangheta has surpassed Sicily’s Cosa Nostra in power and wealth. It has extended far beyond its rural roots and now operates internationally, with illegal gains reinvested in the legitimate economy.

In the area around Vibo Valentia, extortion of local businesses and the fixing of public tenders is also common.

The allegations against those arrested Thursday include the transport and sale of stolen farm machinery to Malta and Romania, police said.

The sting carried out on Thursday extended to other parts of Calabria, Palermo in Sicily and as far as Rome and Milan, police said.

READ ALSO: Meet Nicola Gratteri, the prosecutor leading Italy’s battle against the mafia

In a press conference, anti-mafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, whose efforts to defeat the ‘Ndrangheta have forced him to live under police escort for over 30 years, called the group a “fierce mafia syndicate” controlling areas around the tourist resort of Tropea.

Francesco Messina, who leads Italy’s organised crime investigative unit (DAC), cited the economic power of the clan, which relies locally on “substantial” extortion activity.

The “total absence” of complaints to authorities was striking, Messina said, underscoring the ‘Ndrangheta’s power to intimidate.

By Alexandria Sage

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