Italy: The Mushroom Mafiosi

It was a fine day for a Sunday drive, all right, but the men tooling up the road to Montalto, a rugged 6,417-ft. peak in the toe of the Italian boot, were hardly your average weekend motorists. Noting the stream of big cars —Pëugeots, Mercedes and Citröens—a cruising carabiniere radioed his suspicions to Police Chief Alberto Sabatino in nearby Reggio di Calabria, capital of dirt-poor Calabria province. Chief Sabatino agreed that such a caravan could mean only one thing.

Sabatino dispatched four twelve-man patrols to Montalto. The local cops and national carabinieri...

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