Italian police have performed a spate of anti-mafia raids, arresting dozens of suspects close to Naples, Rome and Agrigento in Sicily.
Illegal drugs, palms trafficking, extortion, contract killings, political bribery, prostitution, art thefts… the list of crimes is long.
So who are the Italian mafia?
The Sicilian gangs based the model for different mafias. They meted out local justice within the 1800s, then grew in power and class.
Cosa Nostra means “our factor” – it’s the original Mafia, with a capital M, in accordance with family clans.
Cosa Nostra earned notoriety in the US, the place it turned into the Italian “Mob”, feuding and racketeering in Chicago, The Big Apple and a few different cities. It amassed energy via controlling illicit alcohol in the 1920s Prohibition technology.
America’s FBI says the us crime syndicate is basically become independent from the clans in Italy. Heroin trafficking continues to be a middle trade for Cosa Nostra.
Say “mafia” now and lots of other people will bring to mind Marlon Brando In The Godfather. The Sicilian word in truth implies “manly”, and the label is frequently implemented loosely – and inaccurately – to organised crime gangs.
Some Italian mafia clans operate globally, competing with similarly ruthless “mafia” gangs from Russia, China, Albania and several other countries. From Time To Time gangs co-ordinate their crimes and proportion out the loot.
Cosa Nostra infiltrated native and nationwide politics not only in Italy but additionally within the US.
The Christian Technological Know-How Reveal and others documented the Mafia’s energy in Italian society in the 1980s.
But now not all massive Italian corruption circumstances contain the Mafia. Rome’s “Mafia Capital” trial uncovered large municipal corruption, but not “mafia association”.
Nowadays Cosa Nostra and the 3 different primary Italian mafia teams – the Camorra, ‘Ndrangheta and Sacra Corona Unita – have an predicted 25,000 participants in general, with 250,000 associates worldwide, the FBI says.
Cosa Nostra was essentially at struggle with the Italian state through the reign of “godfather” Salvatore “Toto” Riina.
Image copyright AFP Image caption An obelisk marks the spot the place prosecutor Falcone’s motorcade was once attacked in 1992
In Would Possibly 1992, Riina’s men detonated a bomb that killed prosecutor Giovanni Falcone, his wife and 3 bodyguards simply out of doors Palermo.
Two months later they killed his substitute Paolo Borsellino and 5 bodyguards in Palermo, with a automotive bomb.
Riina died in jail in November 2017, aged 87, even as serving 26 existence sentences for homicide.
Symbol copyright AFP Symbol caption This Mafia villa near Corleone in Sicily used to be seized and changed into a resort
Cosa Nostra has muscled into some ECU-funded projects in Sicily, intimidating local contractors. A BBC investigation in 2010 found that wind farms were a few of the companies targeted.
Sicilian society has fought back. An anti-Mafia staff known as Libera Terra runs new businesses, together with accommodations, with cash and assets seized from the Mafia.
Prof Federico Varese, an Oxford University knowledgeable on the Mafia, says Cosa Nostra is now extorting “pizzo” from a few state-funded migrant shelters in Sicily.
But some migrant gangs are competing with the Mafia, in native prostitution for example, he informed the BBC.
Italian police have additionally positioned the Mafia under “large pressure” in Sicily, Prof Varese said.
An estimated FOUR,500 people are within the Camorra clans in Naples and Caserta, simply north of the port town.
Their primary trade is medication – they are regularly extraordinarily brutal. in addition they extort cash from development corporations, toxic waste disposal and garment businesses. Their targets come with Chinese-run sweatshops making copies of Italian fashions.
Image copyright AFP Symbol caption Dilapidated tower blocks in Scampia are a identified Camorra stronghold
Vicious Camorra feuding used to be documented by Italian undercover reporter Roberto Saviano, whose 2006 e-book Gomorrah became a bestseller.
Saviano has police bodyguards and lives a lifetime of secrecy after receiving Camorra loss of life threats.
In an interview with US public broadcaster PBS, Saviano stated the Camorra and ‘Ndrangheta were less hierarchical than Cosa Nostra and extra robust, with more youthful leaders and “a lot more blood”. They’re additionally less all in favour of politics than Cosa Nostra, he mentioned.
Camorra drugs crime has unfold to Spain, but the syndicate is still rooted in terrible suburbs of Naples, such as Scampia and Secondigliano.
Symbol copyright Getty Images Symbol caption Bodyguards offer protection to creator Saviano (centre), noticed right here at a film competition in 2013
Mafia violence in Ostia, a terrible suburb of Rome, has additionally been linked to the Camorra. Italians were outraged while a Spada clan member there has been filmed headbutting a TV journalist.
Women in the tight-knit Camorra circle of relatives clans regularly play important roles as messengers and accountants, paying clan members, Prof Varese says.
Calabria, the “toe” of the Italian boot, lies near Sicily and the ‘Ndrangheta used to be at the beginning an offshoot of Cosa Nostra.
The title comes from the Greek “andragathia”, meaning braveness or loyalty.
The FBI estimates ‘Ndrangheta membership at about 6,000. They Are primarily based in one of Italy’s poorest regions.
Symbol copyright AFP Image caption Pasquale Condello, a boss of the ‘Ndrangheta, was arrested in Calabria in 2008
The Crowd specialises in cocaine trafficking, and Prof Varese says it has direct links to crime gangs in Mexico and Colombia. it is reckoned to regulate as so much as EIGHTY% of Europe’s cocaine trade.
it is also entrenched within the crime scene in and around Turin in northern Italy.
‘Ndrangheta brutality used to be tested in the German town of Duisburg in 2007, where six Italian men associated with the crime syndicate have been shot lifeless, their our bodies left in automobiles close to an Italian restaurant.
The ‘Ndrangheta may be accused of siphoning off state price range supposed for destitute migrants in Calabria.
Exploring the mafia’s underground world
The smallest of Italy’s major mafia syndicates, Sacra Corona Unita (“United Sacred Crown”) relies in Puglia, within the a ways south-east.
The FBI says it has about 2,000 participants and specialises in smuggling cigarettes, hands, drugs and those.
Puglia is a herbal gateway for smuggling from the Balkans. Puglia clans are believed to have strong hyperlinks to Japanese Eu crime gangs.