By Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN
Rome (CNN) — An Italian court has sentenced more than 200 crime gang members to a total of 2,200 years in prison, following the country’s largest mafia trial in three decades.
During the trial, which began in January 2021 and took place in a purpose-built bunker in the southern Italian town of Lamezia Terme, more than 400 lawyers represented the defendants and some 900 witnesses provided testimony.
A panel of three judges, who had been deliberating the fate of the 338 accused since the trial ended on October 16, delivered their verdict Monday. It took the court one hour and 40 minutes to hand down its rulings, Italian news outlet Ansa reported.
Some 207 mobsters were jailed and more than 100 were acquitted. The total jail time includes five life sentences and three 30-year sentences.
Among those tried were 42 women – a record for a mafia trial – of whom 39 were convicted.
Many of the defendants had colorful nicknames – including “The Wolf,” “Fatso,” “Sweetie” and “Lamb Thigh” – that were caught on some 24,000 wiretaps, according to the testimonies presented during the trial.
The convicted include the onetime Forza Italia lawmaker Giancarlo Pittelli; former police chief Giorgio Naselli; former financial police officer Michele Marinaro; ex-mayor Gianluca Callipo; and the former regional councilors Luigi Incarnato and Pietro Giamborino, according to the sentencing document seen by CNN.
The mobsters were affiliated with Italy’s notorious ’Nrangheta crime group and were convicted of mafia association, extortion, bribery and five murders.
The trial was referred to as the Rinascita Scott, named after the United States special agent Scott W. Sieben, who was credited with uncovering ties between Colombia’s cartels and the ’Nrangheta.
Based in the southern Italian region of Calabria, the ‘Ndrangheta is considered to be the most powerful mafia group in the country, and one of the most powerful criminal enterprises in the world, with thousands of members of members and affiliates globally, according to the Italian DIA (Anti-Mafia Directorate). It has a monopoly on European drug trafficking, according to Europol.
The three judges had been living under police protection during the trial, which lasted two years and 10 months.
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CNN’s Christian Edwards contributed reporting.