Italy vs. the Mafia: Beheading the ‘Ndrangheta

Check out my piece on Italy’s latest Mafia bust in Time.

The wiretap evidence included scenes straight out of The Godfather. After months of clandestine recording, Italian police launched a predawn raid Tuesday, July 13, snatching up more than 300 alleged members of the powerful ‘Ndrangheta criminal organization, including top bosses, businessmen and corrupt civil servants. Among those netted was Domenico Oppedisano, an 80-year-old man with a field worker’s tan. Investigators say evidence from wiretaps shows that he was confirmed as the syndicate’s top boss during a 2008 wedding of the children of two of the organization’s leaders.
In another cinematic moment caught on tape by Italian police, 22 men in suit jackets raise their glasses in a toast to the new leader of the region around Milan. The location: a center dedicated to the memory of two anti-Mafia judges assassinated in the 1990s. It was clearly meant as an insult to the dead. “This drove us even more,” says Ilda Bocassini, a Milanese prosecutor and one of the heads of the investigation. “To keep going, keep moving towards the top.”

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