Feature

Mafia smuggles water

The week's news at a glance.

Palermo, Italy

Mafia bosses are stealing water and reselling it at an enormous profit, as Italy suffers its worst drought in decades. In Sicily, police have been forced to guard reservoirs to prevent desperate farmers from stealing what is left of the dwindling water supply. Illegal taps on public pipes are usually poorly constructed, and much of the water ends up dribbling underground rather than irrigating farmland. Experts say southern Italy could become a desert within 20 years unless the rampant theft is stopped. Just last month, police found a network of illegal pipes filling a pond on land belonging to Giovanni “the Pig” Brusca, a Mafia chief. Brusca is currently serving time in jail for murder.

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