Rome

Police hit Rome's Casamonica clan with 31 arrests

Testaccio disco, Pantheon eatery seized in anti-mafia op

Police hit Rome's Casamonica clan with 31 arrests

Rome, July 17 - Italian police on Tuesday made 31 arrest as they hit the Casamonica Roman crime family. Six people are missing and presumed to be on the run, police said. The arrests were made in the Italian capital and in the provinces of Reggio Calabria and Cosenza in Calabria, police said. The suspects are accused of creating an organisation dedicated to drug trafficking, extortion and loan sharking, all aggravated by using mafia methods. Among those arrested is Domenico Spada of the eponymous Rome and Ostia crime family, aka Vulcano and a former boxing champion. "They didn't need to use violence, the Casamonica name was enough," said anti-mafia prosecutor Michele Prestipino. Locales in Rome including a disco in Testaccio and a restaurant near the Pantheon were sequestered. Searches turned up 50,000 euros in cash, current accounts, cars and dozens of luxury watches. The so-called 'Romanina clan', from the eastern district of the Italian capital, held sway over criminal activity in much of Rome, investigators said. Because of their Roma and Traveller origins, they were also known as the Gypsies. The clan was bust wide open, police said, thanks to the State's evidence of the sister-in-law of a boss, the partner of Massimiliano Casamonica, brother of clan chieftain Giuseppe Casamonica. Never accepted by the clan, she is now under police protection and her identity is being protected too, investigators said. The second crucial informant is a Calabria-born man who has lived in Rome for many years. He is said to have managed drugs operations for the Casamonicas. Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi said "the Carabinieri operation went very well, my compliments". Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said "we are winning against organised crime". Defence Undersecretary Angelo Tofalo said "I'd like to thanks the Carabinieri for a laudable operation at the end of a probe that started in 2015". The Casamonicas have long been the most powerful mafia-style group in Rome and there was a scandal three summers ago when one clan boss had a Godfather-like funeral complete with music from the iconic film and rose petals dropped onto a horse-drawn hearse from a helicopter.

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