The feared Calabrian mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta, is considered by experts as the most powerful Italian mafia, with ramifications throughout the world, having supplanted the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the Neapolitan Camorra.
Five things to know about this criminal organization.
– Origins –
According to criminologist Anna Sergi, from the British University of Essex, the name is of Greek origin, since the word “andranghateia” refers to “a group of men of honor” and the word “andrangatho” means “to carry out a military action. “.
The ‘Ndrangheta was listed as a mafia in Italian law in 2010, but its origins date back to the time of the unification of Italy, in 1861.
Talk of her began in the 1980s and 1990s through a series of kidnappings. However, he is suspected of operating earlier, when he organized the 1970s Rome kidnapping of the grandson of American oil magnate Jean Paul Getty.
– Cocaine trafficking –
No one knows the exact figures, but according to Italian justice, it has at least 20,000 members worldwide.
The ‘Ndrangheta is the criminal organization “with the most ramifications in the world, since it is present in the five continents,” affirms the Italian magistrate Roberto di Bella.
The organization has an annual turnover of 50,000 million euros (about 66,800 million dollars), most of which comes from cocaine trafficking, says Italian prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, who works in Catanzaro, one of the strongholds of the ‘Ndrangheta in Calabria, one of the poorest regions of Italy.
– Methods –
The ‘Ndrangheta “is enriched by international drug trafficking and typical activities of criminal organizations such as account settlements, extortion, illegal waste trafficking, money laundering,” Roberto di Bella told AFP.
It differs from other mafias by its family structure, “that’s why it is so trustworthy, few regret it”, nor do they betray it.
“The huge flow of money from drugs allows the ‘Ndrangheta to buy everything, shops, restaurants, factories, buildings, they poison the legal economy of Italy and many countries of the world,” said di Bella.
It is also active in the construction industry, diverting European funds and even winning contracts for burials amid the coronavirus pandemic.
– Massacre in Germany –
In 2007, a bloody episode in Germany – yet another revenge in the history of clashes between rival clans of the Calabrian mafia – ended up revealing the power of the ‘Ndrangheta in Europe.
The discovery in August of that year of the bodies of six Italians riddled with bullets, aged between 16 and 39 years, all members of one of the mafia families from the Calabrian town of San Luca, in front of a pizzeria in the German town Duisburg, confirmed that the mafia had infiltrated Germany, entering its legal economic circles.
– Macro judgment –
Hundreds of suspected ‘Ndrangheta members are being tried in a “macro trial” that began Wednesday and is expected to last more than two years. Three hundred and fifty-five defendants -among them political leaders, police officers and businessmen-, 900 witnesses and 400 lawyers will be heard in a room specially prepared to host this unusual trial, the most important of the last three decades, in the heart of Calabria. Fifty-eight witnesses agreed to break “the omerta,” the law of silence, to reveal the secrets of the Mancuso clan and its associates. Due to its proportions, this process has only been surpassed by the first macro-trial against the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, held in Palermo in 1986-1987 and which ended with the conviction of 338 defendants. The prosecutors in that process, justices Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, were later assassinated by the mafia.
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