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CRIME

Italian man killed ex and hid her body in a wall

A man who murdered his ex-girlfriend, and hid her body in a cellar wall at a home in Lazio, has been jailed for 25 years.

Italian man killed ex and hid her body in a wall
Tonino Cianfarani denied murdering his ex girlfriend, Samanta Fava. Gavel photo: Shutterstock

Tonino Cianfarani, 41, was jailed on Monday for killing 35-year-old Samanta Fava in April 2012.

A search was launched after Fava was reported missing from Sora, a town south-east of Rome.

Police divers were brought in after Cianfarani claimed he had dumped her body in the Liri river after she died of an illness, Corriere della Sera reported last year.

But a police dog named Orso prompted investigators to break down a cellar wall in the home of Cianfarani’s parents in nearby Fontechiari, where they found Fava’s decomposing body, in June 2013.

Cianfarani was later arrested at Rome’s Ciampino airport as he returned from a trip to Sardinia.

He denied the charges against him and in court claimed Fava died by accidentally falling down the stairs, Corriere reported this week.

The number of women murdered in Italy has risen, with one victim every two days in 2013. Almost two thirds of the women murdered last year were killed by their partner or ex, research organization Eures said in a report published last week.

READ MORE: 2013 'black year' for female murders in Italy

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MAFIA

Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

In its latest mafia sting, Italian police took down a large 'Ndrangheta ring in southern Calabria, placing 56 people under investigation including a regional councillor and a former head of the regional tourism board.

Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

The early-morning blitz by over 300 police focused on areas of Calabria – Italy’s poorest region – under the control of the Mancuso clan, a powerful branch of the infamous ‘Ndrangheta, many of whose top operatives are among hundreds of defendants in an ongoing ‘maxi-trial’.

Fifty-six people, many already in prison, were put under criminal investigation for a series of crimes including mafia-related conspiracy, extortion, kidnapping, bribery and possession of weapons, police and prosecutors said.

READ ALSO: ‘Ndrangheta: It’s time to bust some myths about the Calabrian mafia

Besides alleged mafia members, the operation also snared businessmen, a regional councillor released from prison days earlier, a former head of the regional tourism board and two civil servants, police said.

The incarcerated boss of the clan, Luigi Mancuso, also known as “The Supreme”, is the biggest mafioso in the massive mafia trial that started in January 2021.

Still, police said, his clan and affiliates, including the La Rosa and Accortini families, have continued to dominate illegal activities in the Vibo Valentia province, which is located right on the toe of Italy’s boot and is widely known as the ‘Coast of the Gods’ due to its stunning coastal views.

One mafia scheme involved the infiltration of a foreign tour operator in Pizzo Calabro, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.

No one talks

In Calabria, the extent of the ‘Ndrangheta’s reach in the local economy has made it near impossible to eradicate it.

By controlling the bulk of cocaine flowing into Europe, the ‘Ndrangheta has surpassed Sicily’s Cosa Nostra in power and wealth. It has extended far beyond its rural roots and now operates internationally, with illegal gains reinvested in the legitimate economy.

In the area around Vibo Valentia, extortion of local businesses and the fixing of public tenders is also common.

The allegations against those arrested Thursday include the transport and sale of stolen farm machinery to Malta and Romania, police said.

The sting carried out on Thursday extended to other parts of Calabria, Palermo in Sicily and as far as Rome and Milan, police said.

READ ALSO: Meet Nicola Gratteri, the prosecutor leading Italy’s battle against the mafia

In a press conference, anti-mafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, whose efforts to defeat the ‘Ndrangheta have forced him to live under police escort for over 30 years, called the group a “fierce mafia syndicate” controlling areas around the tourist resort of Tropea.

Francesco Messina, who leads Italy’s organised crime investigative unit (DAC), cited the economic power of the clan, which relies locally on “substantial” extortion activity.

The “total absence” of complaints to authorities was striking, Messina said, underscoring the ‘Ndrangheta’s power to intimidate.

By Alexandria Sage

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