Rome July 26

Police arrest 51 in major anti-mafia operation in Rome

Special forces assist in historic blow against mobsters

Police arrest 51 in major anti-mafia operation in Rome

Rome July 26 - At least 51 people were arrested Friday in a major anti-mafia operation in Rome aimed at shutting down illegal operations up and down the coast around the Italian capital. About 500 officers from several law enforcement agencies were involved, including special forces units in what police say is one of the largest anti-mafia sweeps in Rome's history. Key targets included the Fasciani, Triassi and D'Agati clans, which for approximately 20 years have shared the criminal spoils of the region, especially along the sea shore, in what has been dubbed a "pax mafia". Police say agents of the two clans dealt with land management, planned murders and kept out rival criminals as they ran gambling operations, controlled slot machine gaming and other kinds of beach-related activity. Entire families within Fasciani clan have been arrested, including alleged leaders and siblings Carmine, Giuseppe, and Terenzio Nazarene. Also arrested were Vito and Vincenzo Triassi who have lifelong ties with the Sicilian Mafia known as 'Cosa Nostra'. Charges range from international drug trafficking and extortion to mafia affiliation. Police also allege some gang members infiltrated municipal operations in the beachside town of Ostia, where earlier this month Rome police conducted raids. Some of Friday's charges relate to allocation of social housing managed by the municipality. Earlier this month, Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino removed one manager and a staff member from the administrative office under suspicions tied to allegedly granting mafia members prized space to operate kiosks. Several Ostia employees were said to be under investigation for abuse of office and corruption. Friday's raids included international authorities that raided the Spanish island of Tenerife which has Triassi connections. In a separate anti-mafia operation on Friday Senator Piero Aiello, a member of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, was placed under investigation as part of a mafia probe that led to the arrest of 65 people in the southern city of Lamezia Terme. That probe, which also led to the seizure of 200 million euros worth of assets from five businessmen on Friday, is centred on alleged crimes linked to the Giampà clan of the Calabrian-based 'Ndrangheta mafia syndicate.

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