The Direzione Investigativa Antimafia, the State Police in Trapani and the Investigative Unit of the Carabinieri Provincial Command in Trapani carried out a pre-trail detention order issued by the Court in Palermo, upon the request of the local Public Prosecutor’s Office – Direzione Distrettuale Antimafia. As a result, 21 arrests were issued, comprising 17 pre-trial arrest orders and 4 house arrests, against 21 persons allegedly belonging to mafia families from Custonaci, Valderice and Trapani of the “cosa nostra” mandamento in Trapani.
At the same time, several house searches against other suspects – still free – were carried out and technical-administrative, as well as accounting documents were gathered in the municipality of Custonaci. Among the arrested persons there was a high echelon of the previous town council of Custonaci, whereas a former mayor and a majority town councillor in office, all investigated but free, were searched.
The joint investigation, dubbed “Scialandro”, lasted two years and involved the DIA in Palermo and Trapani, the Mobile Squad of the Police Headquarters in Trapani, as well as the am Investigative Unit of the Carabinieri Command in Trapani. These offices gathered serious evidence of guilt as to the crimes of mafia-type association or anyway crimes involving the aggravating circumstance of the mafia method.
Specifically, the investigation identified synergies and unclear relationships between members of the old town council of Custonaci and mafia groups. Thanks to these links the mafia groups were able to impose on the local authority the names of the beneficiaries of funds so to cope with the economic difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic or to steer the awarding of public contracts in favour of collusive firms or companies somehow linked to them, even by using middlemen. One of those intermediaries fictitiously hired a person subject to life imprisonment in order to allow him to benefit from the regime of semi-liberty.
The socio-economic control of the territory was also implemented through extortion and intimidation against the owners of farms. They were dissuaded from buying land in which mafia associations were interested in.
Trapani, 24 October 2023
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