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18 arrested on mafia charges in Calabria

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18 arrested on mafia charges in Calabria
Screenshot from Gazetta del Sud video footage of police arresting mafia suspects
11:30 CEST+02:00
Police arrested 18 people in a major raid in Reggio Calabria Monday on suspicion of mafia activities, including Mayor of Delianuova Francesco Rossi.

Two local businessmen are also among the accused.

The charges levelled against the suspects include mafia association, extortion, aggravated fraud, and fraudulent transactions aggravated by mafia methods and purposes as members and associates of the Alvaro di Sinopoli clan, reports Gazetta del Sud.

Rossi, who was appointed to the position of mayor of the town of Delianuova three years ago, is accused of abusing his public office to illegally award public contracts and distribute state finances to the clan.

READ ALSO: 'Ndrangheta mafia taking root in northern Italy

The raid, which was carried out by the Investigations Unit of the Reggio Calabria Carabinieri and coordinated by the city's assistant prosecutor Calogero Gaetano Paci and deputy prosecutor Giulia Pantano, is the culmination of a five-year investigation launched in 2013, according to Strettoweb.

In order to gather the intelligence needed to make the arrests police monitored a farmhouse in the Sinopoli district, which they described as the “nerve centre” for the clan's illegal activities.

The Calabrian 'Ndràngheta mafia is less well-known outside Italy than the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the Neapolitan Camorra, but it has had substantial success in recent years by coordinating with international criminal networks and as of the 21st century has become the most powerful of the three.

The clan became well known in Italy in the 1970s due to their practice of kidnapping wealthy Northern Italians for ransom, and are believed to be behind the infamous 1973 kidnapping and mutilation of then-16-year-old John Paul Getty III as well as the murder of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak in February of this year.

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