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Italian police arrest 46 suspected mafia members
Forty-six alleged members of the 'Ndrangheta crime network were arrested for running a cement racket and for several decades-old murders, Italian police said Tuesday.
"This is the way to fight organised crime every day," Interior Minister Roberto Maroni declared after the news broke.
Two rival clans belonging to the 'Ndrangheta, the mafia syndicate that dominates the southern region of Calabria, would force companies working on highways to purchase cement from them and hire mafia-controlled subcontracting companies.
"We had uncovered a similar case in 2007 and we arrested several people at that time," said Renato Cortese, head of a police unit in Reggio Calabria.
"But as construction advanced, the highway moved further south and other mafia clans take part in the racket."
Some of those arrested are also accused of several murders carried out during a war between the two clans in the 1980s and 1990s.
The 500-kilometre highway is the largest in southern Italy, connecting the town of Salerno, near Naples, to the tip of the peninsula.