Mafia suspects arrested in Italy

Mafia suspects arrested in Italy

SAN LUCA – Police yesterday arrested 32 suspected mafiosi and were hunting for eight others linked to a deadly mob feud that led to the execution-style killings of six Italians in Germany.

Camouflage-clad police backed by helicopters swooped into into the southern Italian mountain village of San Luca, the epicentre of a 16-year-old feud inside the Calabrian underworld organisation, the ‘Ndrangheta, that has claimed up to 20 lives. The latest six victims died in a hail of bullets on August 15 outside a pizzeria run by Calabrians in Duisburg, northwest Germany, where the ‘Ndrangheta is believed to be well established.Among the arrested was Giovanni Nirta, suspected head of a mob clan whose wife was shot dead last Christmas.He denies accusations he sought revenge and ordered the Duisburg killings.Achille Marmo and Giovanni Strangio, brothers of two of the Duisburg victims, were also among those arrested in and around San Luca.Strangio was a co-owner of the pizzeria where the men were killed, police said.”The families that are fighting in Calabria are the same ones who fought in Germany,” police colonel Antonio Fiano told Reuters.But police refused to directly link the suspects to the murders themselves – saying their investigation was into the larger mob feud that led to the killings.The suspects face charges including mob association, murder and arms trafficking.”It’s a strong and necessary response to break up the mob feud between opposing ‘Ndrangheta clans, which has already provoked so much terror,” Interior Minister Giuliano Amato said.Authorities earlier said 40 people had been arrested, but later revised the number down, saying eight suspects had yet to be apprehended.Police, many armed with machine guns, were searching for underground bunkers after finding three suspects holed up in a secret annexe to a mobster’s basement.The wall to the mafia bunker opened by remote control.Police raids on other homes in the tiny village also revealed sophisticated security and surveillance systems.The feud is believed to have its roots in rancour over an egg-throwing incident during Carnival in 1991 that spiralled out of control.The Calabrian mafia is estimated by Italian experts to have an annual turnover of nearly $49 billion, putting it on a par with some of the largest publicly quoted companies in Italy.Much of its cash comes from trafficking cocaine, a trade which the ‘Ndrangheta now dominates in Italy.It has outgrown other Italian mafias like its more famous Sicilian counterpart, the Cosa Nostra, and the Neapolitan Camorra.German police, already in Italy following up the Duisburg shootings, flew into the southern city of Reggio Calabria, near San Luca, yesterday to follow the operation more closely.Nampa-ReutersThe latest six victims died in a hail of bullets on August 15 outside a pizzeria run by Calabrians in Duisburg, northwest Germany, where the ‘Ndrangheta is believed to be well established.Among the arrested was Giovanni Nirta, suspected head of a mob clan whose wife was shot dead last Christmas.He denies accusations he sought revenge and ordered the Duisburg killings.Achille Marmo and Giovanni Strangio, brothers of two of the Duisburg victims, were also among those arrested in and around San Luca.Strangio was a co-owner of the pizzeria where the men were killed, police said.”The families that are fighting in Calabria are the same ones who fought in Germany,” police colonel Antonio Fiano told Reuters.But police refused to directly link the suspects to the murders themselves – saying their investigation was into the larger mob feud that led to the killings.The suspects face charges including mob association, murder and arms trafficking.”It’s a strong and necessary response to break up the mob feud between opposing ‘Ndrangheta clans, which has already provoked so much terror,” Interior Minister Giuliano Amato said.Authorities earlier said 40 people had been arrested, but later revised the number down, saying eight suspects had yet to be apprehended.Police, many armed with machine guns, were searching for underground bunkers after finding three suspects holed up in a secret annexe to a mobster’s basement.The wall to the mafia bunker opened by remote control.Police raids on other homes in the tiny village also revealed sophisticated security and surveillance systems.The feud is believed to have its roots in rancour over an egg-throwing incident during Carnival in 1991 that spiralled out of control.The Calabrian mafia is estimated by Italian experts to have an annual turnover of nearly $49 billion, putting it on a par with some of the largest publicly quoted companies in Italy.Much of its cash comes from trafficking cocaine, a trade which the ‘Ndrangheta now dominates in Italy.It has outgrown other Italian mafias like its more famous Sicilian counterpart, the Cosa Nostra, and the Neapolitan Camorra.German police, already in Italy following up the Duisburg shootings, flew into the southern city of Reggio Calabria, near San Luca, yesterday to follow the operation more closely.Nampa-Reuters

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