Italy seizes mafia assets worth 150 million euros

March 4th, 2008 - 6:45 pm ICT by admin  

Rome, March 4 (DPA) Italian authorities seized Tuesday assets worth some 150 million euros ($228 million), including homes, firms, shops, bank accounts and luxury vehicles, allegedly belonging to the ‘Ndrangheta mafia. The morning raids, carried out by the police backed by military units, took place mostly in ‘Ndrangheta’s notorious stronghold - the town of San Luca in Italy’s southern Calabria region.

Other possessions including companies and real estate were seized in the northern industrial heartland of Lombardy.

Officials suspect most of the confiscated goods belong to two San Luca-based ‘Ndrangheta families, Nirta-Strangio and Pelle-Vottari.

The families have been locked in a bloody feud since the early 1990s. Victims are believed to include six Italians killed in an August 2007 gangland shooting outside a pizzeria in Duisburg, Germany.

During Tuesday’s operation, the police discovered an underground bunker in one of the seized buildings which investigators believed was used as a hideout by ‘Ndrangheta boss Antonio Pelle, the ANSA news agency reported.

Pelle was sentenced to 26 years in jail for organized crime-related activities but has been on the run since 2000.

Last week an Italian parliamentary report described ‘Ndrangheta as “the most modern (criminal) organization, the most powerful one as far as cocaine trafficking goes”.

Likening the ‘Ndrangheta’s international reach to that of the Al Qaeda terrorist network, the report said it is “able to obtain and offer deadly weapons of war and destruction.”

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