Migrant centre in Italy run by mafia clan for at least 10 years

Migrant centre in Italy run by mafia clan for at least 10 years

Police made 68 arrests (Stock image)

Monday, May 15, 2017

A migrant centre in Italy was run by a mafia clan for at least 10 years, police have said.

This morning (May 15) police closed in on the centre and made 68 arrests. Many of those arrested belonged to the Arena clan, according to The Local.

The clan is part of the 'Ndrangheta mafia, which is based in Calabria, and according to reports it has made millions from running the centre.

A police statement said: "Over 500 agents overnight arrested 68 people... accused of mafia association, extortion, carrying illegal weapons, fraud, embezzlement to the detriment of the state [and] theft."

The migrant centre in Isola di Capo Rizzuto has held up to 1,500 migrants at a time for over a decade.

Officially the centre was supposed to be run by the Catholic Misericordia Association. Its head, Leonardo Sacco, has also been arrested.

A local priest named Edoardo Scordio has also been arrested, according to local media reports. It is believed he allowed the clan to gain contracts for supplying services to the centre.

The clan also provided catering for migrants on the Italian island of Lampedusa. For many years the camp was the frontline of the migrant humanitarian crisis and the waters around it have witnessed numerous sinkings.