Italy's Justice Ministry took over the operation of six TNT Global Express subcontractors that have been infiltrated by a mafia organization.
The ministry said it will run the delivery companies in the Lombardy region surrounding Milan for an initial six months as it attempts to dismantle the crime network within TNT.
If the authorities are not satisfied they have rooted out the mob after six months, they will remain in charge of the subcontractors for a further six months.
The Justice Ministry launched an investigation into TNT subcontractors after Italian and German police arrested 35 alleged member of the 'Ndrangheta, a crime syndicate based in southern Italy, in March.
TNT believed the subcontractors were independent companies, but they were a cover for organized crime. The couriers wore TNT uniforms and drove TNT badged vehicles.
The top management of TNT was not aware of the presence of the 'Ndrangheta, but local managers turned a blind eye, according to Amsterdam-based financial daily Het Financieele Dagbald.
The 'Ndrangheta, which is based in the province of Calabria, is estimated to have an income in excess of $50 billion and has spread into northern Italy in recent years.
The syndicate controls Gioia Tauro, the southern Italian transshipment port that handles over 3.5 million containers a year, according to a parliamentary report in 2008.
-- Contact Bruce Barnard at email@example.com.