An Italian court on Monday convicted and sentenced around 200 people who had been accused of being members, or worked with the 'Ndrangheta mafia.
The culmination of one of Italy's largest ever mafia trials could be a significant blow against one of the world's most powerful criminal syndicates.
Two top members of the 'Ndrangheta crime group received the maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
What were the charges against the 'Ndrangheta?
Prosecutors had sought guilty verdicts for 322 defendants, charged with crimes including drug and weapons trafficking, extortion and mafia association — which is specifically designated in Italy's penal code.
"The relevance (of this trial) is enormous," Italian lawmaker and former anti-mafia chief prosecutor Federico Cafiero De Raho, told The Associated Press in an interview.
"First of all, because every trial against the 'Ndrangheta gives a very significant message to the territory, which is not only the Calabrian one, but the national territory."
"But it has repercussions also at a European and world level, because the ‘ndrangheta is one of the strongest organizations in the world, able to manage the international traffic of narcotics, as well as many other activities,” Cafiero De Raho said.
The trial had to take place in a specially constructed high-security bunker in Lamezia Terme in southern Italy.
Giancarlo Pittelli, a lawyer and former politician with the Forza Italia party — a member of the national ruling coalition — was sentenced to 11 years in prison for mafia collusion and passing on information.
The global reach of the 'Ndrangheta
The 'Ndrangheta has rooted itself in Calabria in southern Italy and has a stranglehold on cocaine importation into Europe according to anti-mafia prosecutors.
The group can also be found many spheres of public life, from city hall to courts and hospitals according to experts, with operations in North and South America and activity on the African continent.
Those involved in the group have also been arrested around Europe, Brazil and Lebanon.
kb/rt (AP, AFP)