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“Ferry Terminal grocer was a mafia boss”

Genoa - Arrested at the Ferry Terminal,in the lorry from which he sold his typical preserved meats and cheeses. According to the District Anti-Mafia Directorate, his name is Santo Giuseppe Aligi, he is 48, from Reggio Calabria, and anything but a parvenu

Genoa - Arrested at the Ferry Terminal, in the lorry from which he sold his typical preserved meats and cheeses. According to the District Anti-Mafia Directorate, his name is Santo Giuseppe Aligi, he is 48, from Reggio Calabria, and anything but a parvenu. In fact, he is a “ranking member of the Sant’Ilario dello Ionio Gang,” as the magistrates write, “always at the disposal of the Mafia, he recognises and respects the hierarchies and is in possession of great ‘Ndrangheta qualities (editor’s note: in the investigators’ jargon this means that he had climbed the hierarchies quite well).

He interfaces directly with subjects near the top levels for the resolution of organisational matters, “promotions” of other members, handling conflicts within the clan, handing out assignments.”

Aligi is one of 116 persons arrested in Operation “Mandamento”, which began yesterday mostly in Calabria, which will unveil the results of the investigation in various areas. In particular, at the top of the list of charges against all the most important gang members (including Aligi), in addition to a number of Calabrian cities that the organisation lorded over, Liguria appears together with Lombardy and Piedmont as regions into which its tentacles extended with greater strength. And that’s not all.

The wire taps have put the spotlight on two specific elements of the various affairs that the ‘Ndrangheta has set up in Genoa after the round up five to six years ago: road haulage, with a series of suspicious comings and goings at the docks, the inevitable drugs in various forms and public contracts of a certain consistency, a constant but with new references.

To start describing the repercussions in Genoa of the blitz conducted first in the Locri area - which uncovered among other things, the existence of real “courts” within the families - one must return to Aligi’s arrest, which was carried out by Carabinieri of the Genoese Special Operations Group. Every night he slept in a different area of the city, always in his own lorry, although he was anything but a homeless man.

He operated four mobile food counters in Liguria and Milan, after escaping in previous years from the so-called “Portigliola feud”, in the province of Reggio, and having already scored a conviction for drug trafficking plus notices of indictment for murder and extortion. What was he doing here in Genoa? Was he also playing a significant role here, after some local bosses wound up in prison, or did he simply change areas because he feared that he would soon be arrested because of some strange leak of information? The Genoese investigators are at work on his latest movements and contacts, as well as three other primary clues provided by the milieu of the Calabrian dossier.

The first: the strange affairs of “Jonica Trasporti srl”, which can be traced back to Domenico Caruso, who is also among the 116 who were arrested. Born and officially residing in Locri, he shuttled between Calabria and Genoa because he was developing business in Genoa and Lower Piedmont for the one truck that “Jonica” owned. He had a parking space at the port, he loaded and unloaded at the port of Genoa and we must now understand what he was carrying and for whom.

The hypothesis is that the companies were a front for another, quite prevalent, business, or the infiltration of medium-large contracts in infrastructure in Genoa and Milan (railways and motorways), on which they provided continual reports to their bosses.

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