One of the Biggest Mafia Trials in History Kicks Off Today in Italy

More than 350 people with alleged ties to the 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate will stand trial

'Ndrangheta mafia trial in Italy
The inside of a new bunker room built for the upcoming trial of the 'Ndrangheta mafia group.
Gianluca CHININEA / AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has caused many trials and court hearings to be delayed and made for some truly weird Zoom experiences with others, but it won’t stop Italy from holding its largest-ever mafia trial this week. As CBS News reports, hundreds of defendants from the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate will stand trial at the same time as part of a “maxi-trial.”

The ‘Ndrangheta is based in Italy’s southern Calabria region, and it is allegedly responsible for a global drug trafficking network that specializes mostly in cocaine and rakes in tens of billions of euros a year — which means that, as CBS points out, “it reportedly makes more money selling drugs than McDonald’s does selling burgers.”

More than 350 suspects, including politicians and other officials who are accused of being ‘Ndrangheta members, will stand trial, and roughly 900 witnesses will offer testimony against them. There are also 400 lawyers working the unprecedentedly large trial.

You’re probably wondering how they’re planning on pulling such a huge event off in a world where, thanks to the ongoing pandemic, it’s highly dangerous for large numbers of people to gather in one area. Italian authorities reportedly constructed a special high-security, high-capacity courtroom that is capable of fitting 1,000 people socially distanced from one another for the trial. Many of the defendants will still appear via video conference from jail.

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