ROME – Prosecutors in Naples say Camorra mobsters tried to intimidate local grocers into buying bread from clan-controlled bakeries and selling it at higher prices, so the Mafiosi could pocket the difference.
In a crackdown on the Lo Russo crime clan, police Monday arrested 24 suspects in the alleged extortion scheme targeting grocery stores, supermarkets and street vendors.
Prosecutor Giovanni Colangelo told reporters some grocers bowed to fear and bought the bread, which the mob ordered to be sold at 30 cents higher than market price per kilogram. Authorities alleged that the "extra profit" went to clan coffers.
Other shopkeepers refused the extortion demands and told police.
Authorities said eavesdropping devices and intercepted phone calls helped the probe.
Extortion is a key activity of the Naples-based Camorra syndicate.