Mafia group taking over councils in Italy, police warn

- Ruthless gang based in southern Italy reaching into growing number of regional councils, says anti-mafia police.

ROME (AA) - A vicious Calabrian version of the Mafia is infiltrating local governments in Italy, according to anti-mafia police.

The 'Ndrangheta have extended beyond their power base in the southern Italian region of Calabria and are expanding into a growing number of councils, the special anti-mafia police department DIA said Monday.

"The ability of the Calabrian mafia to infiltrate councils in other regions where Calabrians have emigrated for decades should not be underestimated," the report said, citing a council at Sedriano in Milan province who was dissolved in October 2013 after being infiltrated by mafia members.

   Calabrian local councils now face a "cyclical emergency" of infiltration by the crime gang which led to 14 councils in the region being dissolved last year -- the highest figure to date -- the DIA said in its regular six monthly report.

 

- 'Spheres of influence'

But the report cautioned that the high number of councils being detected could be because police are on their guard in Calabria, whereas in other regions they may be less so.

The DIA also warned that the Sicilian Cosa Nostra is now being led by people "with a criminal curriculum without background" instead of "leadership that meant the historic clan leaders."

The development is due to "the growing enrolment of foreign manpower and even of gypsies," according to the DIA.

It also cautioned that the Sicilian crime gang has undergone "re-generative metamorphoses" toward "more flexible spheres of influence" than in the past.

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