Italian police arrested three people in Calabria, where the 'Ndrangheta is rife, after the discovery of a cache of frozen dormice, a small rodent that is a dish appreciated by mafia organizations, writes the daily La Repubblica on Saturday.
The 'Ndrangheta serves dormice, a protected species, during reconciliation banquets intended to restore peace between enemy families, according to the conservation organization LIPU.
Police found several caged animals during a drug seizure in Delianuova, a town in the hills of southern Italy, next to more than 200 frozen dormice packed for sale and consumption, said la Repubblica.
Poaching is common practice in the Aspromonte massif in Calabria, with hunters setting thousands of traps in the woods and selling illegally captured dormice to gangsters and restaurants, according to LIPU.
The 'Ndrangheta is a mafia organization in the Calabria region that has overtaken the best-known Cosa Nostra to become the most powerful in Italy.
It has activities all over the world.