Italian councillor held for mafia links

Rome, Nov 3 (IANS/AKI) A local councillor was held in Calabria in an operation that led to the arrests of 41 mafia suspects in several regions across Italy.

Vincenzo Laina, 53, was arrested in the town of Laureana di Borrello in the province of Reggio Calabria on suspicion of abetting the Calabrian mafia or ‘Ndrangheta.

The ‘Ndrangheta-linked suspects were arrested during raids in the provinces of Reggio Calabria and Vibo Valentia in southern Italy, Rome and Cagliari in central Italy, and Milan, Pavia, Varese and Como in the north.

The suspects were held on the orders of anti-mafia prosecutors in Reggio Calabria.

They face charges including mafia association, abetting the mafia, arson, assault, intimidation, trafficking and possessing illegal drugs, bearing illegal arms and match fixing, police said.

Drug trafficking, extortion and money-laundering rackets have in recent decades made the ‘Ndrangheta Italy’s wealthiest and most powerful international crime syndicate.

The ‘Ndrangheta operates throughout Italy as well as in Europe but its influence and networks extend from Australia to North and South America.