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The Mafia Reporter With a Police Escort (and the 200 Journalists Like Him)

He was feeding his dog outside his country home, when two men jumped him, grabbed his right arm, and twisted it behind his back until his shoulder muscles tore in three places.

“The only words the attackers told me that day were, ‘Mind your own business,’ or ‘This is only the first warning,’ or a Sicilian, less polite, version of it,” Mr. Borrometi recalled.

Almost five years later, he still can’t move his shoulder properly.

That didn’t stop him from continuing to report on the mafia and taking a number of the mafiosi who threatened him to court. One night, after a fire attack almost burned down his apartment, the police decided to put him under full-time protection.

The mafia wasn’t cowed.

“We’ll cut your head off, even inside a police station,” the local mafia boss said in a public post on social media.

His reporting — and police investigations — have by now exposed a wider network of mafia affiliates who move produce from the fruit and vegetable market in Vittoria, Sicily, to the rest of Italy and to Europe, in affiliation with other criminal groups.

He found out that one of the companies growing the famed Pachino tomato, a special cherry tomato certified by Italy’s Agriculture Ministry, was owned by the sons of two prominent mobsters. One of them had spent more than two decades in jail for mafia ties, and was now working for his son’s company.

The news spread, and the ministry took notice and cut the company off from the list of businesses that can sell Pachino tomatoes. Not only did the mobsters feel under attack by a reporter, they were out millions of euros in lost revenue.

Source: NYT > World

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