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Italy: Forty arrested in anti-mafia raid

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Forty suspects were arrested in northern Italy as the authorities targeted mafia cells.

Meanwhile anti-mafia police have released unprecedented footage of an initiation ritual filmed as part of an inquiry into the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate.

Three groups were under investigation, based north of Milan, in the provinces of Como and Lecco in Lombardy region.

Most of the arrests were in northern Italy, but some of the men were detained in Sicily.

The ‘Ndrangheta is based in Calabria, in the far south “toe-end” of Italy.


Italian media said the investigation had involved phone intercepts as well as secret filming and the three groups at the ceremony came from small villages in Como and Lecco.

During the meeting, those present organized their hierarchy and allotted roles to each other. One of those sworn in was 17 years of age, officials said.

Milan anti-mafia prosecutor Ilda Boccassini, who led the investigation, said the video showed how “the force of tradition” enabled the ‘Ndrangheta to survive.

The ‘Ndrangheta are known to have distinctive initiation rites and an elite membership known as “Santa”.

Those arrested by a special police unit were being held on suspicion of belonging to the mafia and extortion, as well as carrying unlicensed guns.

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