Some 48 people have been arrested in an anti-mafia operation against the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate based in the Calabria region, Italian authorities said.
Assets worth about 25 million euros (29.44 million U.S. dollars) were seized during the raid, which targeted a powerful clan of the ‘Ndrangheta. Some 44 people were jailed, and another four put under house arrests, police said in a statement.
Suspects were charged with mafia association, extortion, fraudulent transfer of assets, and illegal possession of weapons.
The former mayor and a former councilor in Taurianova, a town near Reggio Calabria, were among those arrested.
The town had seen its municipality dissolved three times by the government on suspicion of mafia infiltration in 1991, 2009 and 2013 respectively.
According to prosecutors, former mayor Domenico Romeo played a role in favoring illegal activities of local clans.
The probe was launched in 2012, and helped reveal “how the local government in the town (under the former mayor) shaped its political and administrative activity in order to meet the interests and the requests of the ‘Ndrangheta,” investigators wrote in the statement.
The former mayor was charged with external mafia association, and the councilor of being an active member of the mafia group.
Assets sized included 22 companies operating in the financial, food, agriculture, and transport sectors, at least 65 plots of land, and 15 vehicles.
Material assets were worth about 11.8 million euros, while the overall value of the seizure reached 25 million euros, according to judicial authorities. (1 euro = 1.18 U.S. dollars)