Abroad

Who let the rats out? Italy police bust mafia ring serving hundreds of frozen dormice

Too cute to eat?
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CALABRIA – Italian police have arrested three men linked to the notorious ‘Ndrangheta mafia clan during a drug raid at a cannabis farm in Reggio Calabria on Saturday (Oct 18).

They also stumbled upon a freezer full of 235 dormice carcasses that were slated for a reconciliation feast among key mafia heads.

Dormice, a kind of rat that has a tail similar to a squirrel’s, is a popular delicacy dating back to ancient Rome where they were fattened in cages before being skinned and stuffed with pork mince, ground pine nuts, and garlic and subsequently baked.

Who let the rats out? Italy police bust mafia ring serving hundreds of frozen dormice
Photo via Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
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Some restaurants would even leave its tail intact so that customers are aware of what they’re eating. It’s still being consumed in Slovenia and Croatia.

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Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera previously reported that ‘Ndrangheta bosses would usually consume baked dormice whenever they had to make important decisions or extend an olive branch to its enemies.

The mafia clan is also known for its large drug empire, where they have transported tons of cocaine from Latin America and cannabis from North Africa into Europe for years.

Cover image via Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and BBC.

Proofreader: Sarah Yeoh

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