Fourteen years after investigations were launched into an Italian ‘Ndrangheta gang’s alleged involvement in drug trafficking and money laundering, a Swiss trial has concluded with suspended sentences and an acquittal for the main suspect.
The trial at the Federal Criminal Court against the remaining five members of a Calabrese gang ended on Monday.
As the main suspect had already been cleared at the end of 2014, the Office of the Swiss Attorney General was forced to drop the charge of participation in an organised crime group against all 13 suspects.
The Bellinzona court in canton Ticino also dropped the main charge of money laundering. Two suspects were acquitted, including the main figure. Two others received nine-month suspended sentences for drugs-related charges and a third man received a CHF1,200 ($1,224) fine with suspended sentence for forgery.
A year ago three other suspects received similar suspended sentences of between seven and nine months for cocaine smuggling. The charges against the five remaining suspects were dropped.
Investigations had been underway since 2002. In 2011 the Attorney General’s Office said the group, which had been active in Switzerland since at least 1994, would have to face charges of smuggling weapons and drugs between Zurich-Ticino-Italy. The total value of laundered money was estimated at CHF15 million as well as 14 kg of cocaine and 285 weapons.
The costs of the trial – CHF910,000 – will be picked up by the Swiss state, which will also have to cover CHF400,000 in damages to the various people involved.
An appeal to the Federal Court is still possible.
swissinfo.ch with agencies