13 arrests as ‘Ndrangheta clan ‘smashed’ – English

(ANSA) – ROME, SEP 6 – Italian police on Tuesday arrested 13
people in an operation they said “smashed” a leading clan in the
Calabria-based ‘Ndrangheta mafia.
Police said they had dismantled the Comasina Clan, led by Davide
Flachi, who took over from historic ‘Ndrangheta chieftain Pepè
Flachi on the latter’s death in January.
Tax police from Pavia and Milan aided by special police from
Rome said they had taken apart a criminal organization dedicated
to trafficking cocaine, hashish and marijuana and illegally
buying goods and property.
The operation, which was co-ordinated by Milan’s anti-mafia
department DDA, also led to the seizure of two companies and
war-grade machine guns.
Among those arrested was a former bozer and ex-Hollywood PR man,
Franco Terlizzi, who has taken part in Italy’s version of the
reality TV show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here.
He is accused of fraud over car crash insurance payouts.
Clan head Davide Flachi reportedly told terliszzi “if you’re
still standing it’s thanks to me”.
One of those arrested, Antonino Chirico, reportedly described
Flachi as “a giant who hits hard”.
Flachi, 43, reportedly threatened underlings with reprisals “up
to your seventh generation” if they did not obey his orders.
Those arrested were charged with mafia conspiracy, drug
trafficking and distribution, and extortion, among other things.
‘Ndrangheta has spread from its Calabrian heartlands to the rest
of Italy, Europe and around the world, and is considered Italy’s
richest and most powerful mafia due to its control of the
European cocaine trade from South America.
‘Ndrangheta (from a Greek word meaning ‘heroism’ or ‘virtue’)
once lived in the twin shadow of Cosa Nostra in Sicily and the
Camorra in Naples.
While those two syndicates, notably the Sicilians, were feeding
off the transatlantic heroin trade through operations like the
infamous ‘French connection’, ‘Ndrangheta was only just emerging
from its traditional stock-in-trade of kidnappings in the
Calabrian highlands.
It has since become a highly sophisticated global network with a
chokehold on the European cocaine trade and control over swathes
of its home turf where police fear to tread, Italian officials
As well as being the richest, ‘Ndrangheta is also regarded as
the most impenetrable of Italy’s mafias, with its close-knit
family-based organisation outdoing the Sicilian mafia in its
ability to defeat police efforts to turn members into State
The European law enforcement agency Europol has identified
‘Ndrangheta as one of the “most threatening” organized
crime groups on the global level, due to its “enormous financial
might” and “immense corruptive power,” with a presence in
Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Switzerland,
Canada, USA, Colombia and Australia, where ‘Ndrangheta turf wars
have gained headlines.
In Europe, ‘Ndrangheta really only came into the public eye in
2007, when six clan members were gunned down on the midsummer
Ferragosto holiday in the German city of Duisburg in a feud that
began as a wedding spat in a Calabrian coastal town, San Luca,
in 1991.

photo: Terlizzi, the ex I’m A Celebrity contestant (ANSA).