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Duisburg mafia killers on trial in Italy

AFP · 12 Nov 2008, 14:16

Published: 12 Nov 2008 14:16 GMT+01:00

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Three of them, including the main suspect in the Duisburg slayings, are at large and being tried in absentia by the court in Locri, Calabria. Ranging in age from 20 to 68, they face charges of murder, criminal association in Italy and Germany, arms and drugs trafficking, and illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Another 43 defendants have already been on trial in the affair in Reggio di Calabria, the regional capital, since October 20, after an investigation that began well before six suspected mafia members were gunned down in Duisburg in August 2007.

Since 1991, the gangland vendetta between the Vottari-Pelle and Strangio-Nirta clans based in the tiny Calabria town of San Luca has claimed a dozen lives besides the Duisburg victims. Five of the six Italians killed outside a pizza restaurant in Duisburg were from San Luca.

Investigators think the slayings were in reprisal for the Christmas Day 2006 murder of Maria Strangio, wife of clan leader Giovanni Nirta. Fugitive Giovanni Strangio, 29, a relative of the victim, is the main suspect in the Duisburg massacre.

The Italian Eurispes institute estimated the 'Ndrangheta's turnover in 2007

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at €44 billion ($55 billion), the equivalent of nearly three percent of Italy's gross domestic product (GDP).

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