It was truly an episode involving Mr. Pennacchio that helped set off the inquiry.

Mr. Pennacchio and a accomplice had competed for the identical courthouse cafe contract, submitting an enchantment after they misplaced. He then acquired, in a hall of the courthouse, a warning from a clan member to again off, in response to court docket paperwork.

Investigators who adopted up started to suspect that the new bar possession was a entrance. The police put in bugs and cameras in the cafe and began wiretapping suspects, getting a clearer image of the household’s actions. Among different issues, they mentioned, the clan managed a gaming cafe and was behind a jewellery retailer theft in the metropolis.

Prosecutors mentioned that they let the mobsters suppose they had been outsmarting the authorities.

“If a criminal from another group goes there and sees they are managing the courthouse cafe,” Mr. Curcio mentioned, “they must think, ‘Man these guys are smart.’”

He mentioned that “criminal prestige” was most likely the primary motive that the household had sought management of the cafe.

Basilio Pitasi, a lawyer for Saverio Riviezzi, who the prosecutors declare is the clan’s boss, mentioned that the household was not a Mafia group. He added that Mr. Riviezzi had already been cleared of such allegations in the previous.

Mr. Pitasi mentioned that the so-called Riviezzi clan — which authorities say ran the cafe — didn’t management any territory or function “diffused intimidation,” two components that he mentioned had been basic to defining a mafia group.

Rev. Marcello Cozzi, president of a suppose tank, the Center for Studies and Research on the South, mentioned that the Mafia households in Basilicata, together with the Riviezzis, are “young compared to other Mafias in Italy that go back over 150 years.”

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