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The 'Ndrangheta (from the Greek word andragathía (ἀνδραγαθία) for "heroism" and "virtue"; Italian pronunciation: [n̩ˈdraŋɡeta])[p] is a criminal organization in Italy, centered in Calabria. Despite not being as famous abroad as the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, and having been considered more rural compared to the Neapolitan Camorra and the Apulian Sacra Corona Unita, the 'Ndrangheta managed to become the most powerful crime syndicate of Italy in the late 1990s and early 2000s. While commonly lumped together with the Sicilian Mafia, the 'Ndrangheta operates independently from the Sicilians, though there is contact between the two due to the geographical closeness of Calabria and Sicily. On the morning of July 13th 2010, 300 people were arrested and millions of dollars in property confiscated as the result of an undercover investigation of the group. Among those arrested was Domenico Oppedisano, who is believed to be the organizations top boss.[1]Contents
1 History
2 Characteristics
3 Organizational structure
4 Power structure
5 Activities
5.1 Outside Italy
6 'Ndrangheta in popular culture
7 See also
8 References
9 External links

Map of the province of Reggio Calabria

In the folk culture surrounding 'Ndrangheta in Calabria, references to the Spanish Garduña often appear. Aside from these references, however, there is nothing to substantiate a link between the two organizations. A connection is possible, though, if only through contact to the Camorra whose possible origins in the Garduña carry more substance. At any rate, the view of the 'Ndrangheta as successor to the Garduña (which is in turn blown up to a kind of global pirate organization) has certainly existed at times in Calabrian history. [citation needed]. The Greek origin of the name 'Ndrangheta derives from the Griko language - an ancient Greek dialect which is spoken by people in Calabria.

The first certain evidence of 'Ndrangheta derives from shortly after Italian unification (1861). Thus it is common to give its date of origin as being around this point. Italian unity was not immediately a positive development for southern Italy: the local populace of commoners was impoverished while squires ("galantuomini") took over large southern estates and heavy taxation was imposed. In this situation, 'Ndrangheta was either formed or heavily reinforced (if it already existed) by Calabrians who wanted to get even by blackmailing and robbing the rich (see also Social bandits or Brigantaggio).[citation needed]

Since the late 19th century, well-organized groups of criminals have been documented in Calabria, often being referred to as Camorra, since there was no formal name at the time (even the Sicilian Mafia was referred to the same way, though Camorra now refers to the organized crime group in Naples, Italy). The roots of the 'Ndrangheta are often traced to the Picciotteria or Onorata Società, organized groups in the areas of Calabria rich in olives and vines. These secret societies were distinct from the often anarchic forms of banditry and were organized hierarchially with a code of conduct that included omertà – the code of silence – according to a sentence from the court in Reggio Calabria in 1890. An 1897 sentence from the court in Palmi mentioned a written code of rules found in the village of Seminara based on honour, secrecy, violence, solidarity (often based on blood relationships) and mutual assistance.[2]

Until 1975, the 'Ndrangheta restricted their Italian operations to Calabria, mainly involved in extortion and blackmailing. Then a gang war started, killing 300 people. The prevailing faction began to kidnap rich people from northern Italy for ransom. It is believed that John Paul Getty III was one of their victims, though the kidnappers have never been caught. The Second 'Ndrangheta war raged from 1985 to 1991. The bloody six-year war between the Condello-Imerti-Serraino-Rosmini clans and the De Stefano-Tegano-Libri-Latella clans left more than 600 deaths.[3][4] In the 1990s the organization started to invest in the illegal international drug trade, mainly importing cocaine from Colombia.[5]

Francesco Fortugno, popular center-left politician and deputy president of the regional parliament, was openly killed by the 'Ndrangheta on 16 October 2005, in Locri. Demonstrations against the organization ensued, with youthful protesters carrying banderoles of "Ammazzateci tutti!"—"Kill us all!"[6] The government started a large-scale enforcement operation in Calabria and arrested numerous 'ndranghetisti including the murderers of Fortugno.[7]

In March 2006, the national anti-Mafia prosecutor announced the discovery of a submarine in Colombia; it was being constructed on behalf of the 'Ndrangheta for smuggling cocaine. [8]

The 'Ndrangheta has recently expanded its activities to Northern Italy, mainly to sell drugs and to invest in legitimate businesses which can be used for money laundering. The mayor of Buccinasco was threatened when he tried to halt these investments; in May 2007 twenty members of 'Ndrangheta were arrested in Milan.[7]

On 30 August 2007, hundreds of police raided the small town of San Luca, the focal point of the bitter San Luca feud between rival clans among the 'Ndrangheta. Over 30 men and women, linked to the killing of six Italian men in Germany, were arrested.[9]

In September 2009 'Ndrangheta was accused by a former member of the gang of sinking dozens of ships loaded with radioactive waste off Italian coast and of shipping radioactive waste to developing countries for dumping.

Italian anti-organized crime agencies estimated in 2007 that the 'Ndrangheta has annual revenue of about € 35–40 billion (US$50–60 billion), which amounts to approximately 3.5% of the GDP of Italy.[5][7] This comes mostly from illegal drug trafficking, but also from ostensibly legal businesses such as construction, restaurants and supermarkets.[10]

The principal difference with the Mafia is in recruitment methods. The 'Ndrangheta recruits members on the criterion of blood relationships resulting in an extraordinary cohesion within the family clan that presents a major obstacle to investigation. Sons of ‘ndranghetisti are expected to follow in their fathers' footsteps, and go through a grooming process in their youth to become giovani d’onore (boys of honor) before they eventually enter the ranks as uomini d’onore (men of honor). There are relatively few Calabrians who have opted out to become a pentito; at the end of 2002, there were 157 Calabrian witnesses in the state witness protection program.[11] Unlike the Sicilian Mafia in the early 1990s, they have scrupulously avoided a head-on confrontation with the Italian state.

Prosecution in Calabria is hindered by the fact that Italian judges and prosecutors who score highly in exams get to choose their posting; those who are forced to work in Calabria will usually request to be transferred right away.[5] With weak government presence and corrupt officials, few civilians are willing to speak out against the organization.
Organizational structure
Formulas from the code of the ‘Ndrangheta: The three handwritten pages describe the text for the speech held when a member is promoted to a higher ranking. The text reads awkwardly for a native speaker—it is composed in an uncertain Italian with many grammatical and orthographic mistakes.[11]

Both the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the 'Ndrangheta are loose confederations of about one hundred mafia groups, also called cosche or families, each of which claims sovereignty over a territory, usually a town or village, though without ever fully conquering and legitimizing its monopoly of violence.[12]

There are approximately 100 of these families, totaling between 4,000 and 5,000 members in Reggio Calabria.[10][13][14] Other estimates mention 6,000-7,000 men, worldwide there might be some 10,000 members.[5]

Most of the groups (86) operate in the Province of Reggio Calabria, although a portion of the recorded 70 criminal groups based in the Calabrian provinces Catanzaro and Cosenza also appears to be formally affiliated with the 'Ndrangheta.[15] The families are concentrated in poor villages in Calabria such as Platì, Locri, San Luca, Africo and Altomonte as well as the main city and provincial capital Reggio Calabria.[16] San Luca is considered to be the stronghold of the 'Ndrangheta. According to a former 'ndranghetista, "almost all the male inhabitants belong to the 'Ndrangheta, and the Sanctuary of Polsi has long been the meeting place of the affiliates."[17] Bosses from outside Calabria, from as far as Canada and Australia, regularly attend the meetings at the Sanctuary of Polsi.[15]

A 'Ndrangheta crime family is called a locale (place). A locale may have branches, called 'ndrina (plural: 'ndrine), in the districts of the same city, in neighbouring towns and villages, or even outside Calabria, in cities and towns in the industrial North of Italy in and around Turin and Milan. Sometimes sotto 'ndrine are established. These subunits enjoy a high degree of autonomy – they have a leader and independent staff. In some contexts the 'ndrine have become more powerful than the locale on which they formally depend.[17] Other observers maintain that the 'ndrina is the basic organizational unit. Each 'ndrina is "autonomous on its territory and no formal authority stands above the " 'ndrina boss", according to the Antimafia Commission. The 'ndrina is usually in control of a small town or a neighborhood. If more than one 'ndrina operates in the same town, they form a locale.[15]

Blood family and membership of the crime family overlap to a great extent within the 'Ndrangheta. By and large, the 'ndrine consist of men belonging to the same family lineage. Salvatore Boemi, Anti-mafia prosecutor in Reggio Calabria, told the Italian Antimafia Commission that "one becomes a member for the simple fact of being born in a mafia family," although other reasons might attract a young man to seek membership, and non-kin have also been admitted. Marriages help cement relations within each 'ndrina and to expand membership. As a result, a few blood families constitute each group, hence "a high number of people with the same last name often end up being prosecuted for membership of a given 'ndrina." Indeed, since there is no limit to the membership of a single unit, bosses try to maximize descendants.[15]

At the bottom of the chain of command are the picciotti d’onore or soldiers, who are expected to perform tasks with blind obedience until they are promoted to the next level of cammorista, where they will be granted command over their own group of soldiers. The next level is known as santista and higher still is the vangelista, upon which the up-and-coming gangster has to swear their dedication to a life of crime on the Bible. The quintino is the second highest level of command in a 'Ndrangheta clan, being made up of five privileged members of the crime family who report directly to the boss, the capobastone (head of command).[18]
Power structure

For many years, the power apparatus of the single families were the sole ruling bodies within the two associations, and they have remained the real centers of power even after superordinate bodies were created in the Cosa Nostra beginning in the 1950s (the Sicilian Mafia Commission) and in the 'Ndrangheta a superordinate body was created only in 1991 as the result of negotiations to end years of inter family violence.[12]

Unlike the Sicilian Mafia, the 'Ndrangheta managed to maintain a horizontal organizational structure up to the early 1990s, avoiding the establishment of a formal superordinate body. Information of several witnesses has undermined the myth of absolute autonomy of Calabrian crime families, however. At least since the end of the 19th century, stable mechanisms for coordination and dispute settlement were created. Contacts and meetings among the bosses of the locali were frequent.[19]

At least since the 1950s, the chiefs of the 'Ndrangheta locali have met regularly near the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Polsi in the municipality of San Luca during the September Feast. These annual meetings, known as the crimine, have traditionally served as a forum to discuss future strategies and settle disputes among the locali. The assembly exercises weak supervisory powers over the activities of all 'Ndrangheta groups. Strong emphasis was placed on the temporary character of the position of the crimine boss. A new representative was elected at each meeting.[19] Far from being the "boss of the bosses," the capo crimine actually has comparatively little authority to interfere in family feuds or to control the level of interfamily violence.[15]

At these meetings, every boss "must give account of all the activities carried out during the year and of all the most important facts taking place in his territory such as kidnappings, homicides, etc."[19] The historical preeminence of the San Luca family is such that every new group or locale must obtain its authorization to operate and every group belonging to the 'Ndrangheta "still has to deposit a small percentage of illicit proceeds to the principale of San Luca in recognition of the latter’s primordial supremacy."[17]

Security concerns have led to the creation in the 'Ndrangheta of a secret society within the secret society: La Santa. Membership in the Santa is only known to other members. Contrary to the code, it allowed bosses to establish close connections with state representatives, even to the extent that some were affiliated with the Santa. These connections were often established through the Freemasonry, which the santisti - breaking another rule of the traditional code - were allowed to join.[12][20]

According to Italian DIA (Direzione Investigativa Antimafia, Department of the Police of Italy against organized crime) and Guardia di Finanza (Italian Financial Police and Customs Police) the "'Ndrangheta is now one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the world."[citation needed] Economic activities of 'Ndrangheta include international cocaine and weapons smuggling, with Italian investigators estimating that 80% of Europe's cocaine passes through the Calabrian port of Gioia Tauro and is controlled by the 'Ndrangheta.[5] However, according to a report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and Europol, the Iberian Peninsula is considered the main entry point for cocaine into Europe and a gateway to the European market.[21] The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated that in 2007 nearly ten times as much cocaine was intercepted in Spain (almost 38 MT) in comparison with Italy (almost 4 MT).[22]

'Ndrangeta groups and Sicilian Cosa Nostra groups sometimes act as joint ventures in cocaine trafficking enterprises.[23][24] Further activities include skimming money off large public work construction projects, money laundering and traditional crimes such as usury and extortion. 'Ndrangheta invests illegal profits in legal real estate and financial activities.

The business volume of the 'Ndrangheta is estimated at almost 44 billion euro in 2007, approximately 2.9% of Italy's GDP, according to Eurispes (European Institute of Political, Economic and Social Studies) in Italy. Drug trafficking is the most profitable activity with 62% of the total turnover.[25]
Total turnover of the 'Ndrangheta in 2007Illicit activity   Income
Drug trafficking    € 27.240 billion
Commercial enterprise & public contracts      €   5.733 billion
Prostitution    €   2.867 billion
Extortion & usury    €   5.017 billion
Arms trafficking    €   2.938 billion
Total    € 43.795 billion

Outside Italy

The 'Ndrangheta has had a remarkable ability to establish branches abroad, mainly through migration. The overlap of blood and mafia family seems to have helped the 'Ndrangheta expand beyond its traditional territory: "The familial bond has not only worked as a shield to protect secrets and enhance security, but also helped to maintain identity in the territory of origin and reproduce it in territories where the family has migrated". 'Ndrine are reported to be operating in northern Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Eastern Europe, the United States, Canada, and Australia.[15] One group of 'ndranghetistas discovered outside Italy was in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, several decades ago. They were dubbed the Siderno Group by Canadian judges as most of its members hailed from Siderno.[26]

Magistrates in Calabria sounded the alarm a few years ago about the international scale of the 'Ndrangheta's operations. It is now believed to have surpassed the traditional axis between the Sicilian and American Cosa Nostra, to become the major importer of cocaine to Europe.[27] Outside Italy 'Ndrangheta operates in several countries, such as:
Argentina: In November 2006, a cocaine trafficking network was dismantled that operated in Argentina, Spain and Italy. The Argentinian police said the ‘Ndrangheta had roots in the country and shipped cocaine through Spain to Milan and Turin.[28]
Australia: Known by the name "The Honoured Society", The 'Ndrangheta controlled Italian-Australian organized crime all along the East Coast of Australia since the early 20th century. The 'Ndrangheta began in Australia in Queensland, where they continued their form of rural organized crime, especially in the fruit and vegetable industry. After the 1998–2006 Melbourne gangland killings which included the murder of 'Ndrangheta Godfather Frank Benvenuto. In 2008, the 'Ndrangheta were tied to the importation of 15 million ecstasy pills to Melbourne, at the time the world's largest ecstasy haul. The pills were hidden in a container-load of tomato cans from Calabria. Australian 'Ndrangheta boss Pasquale Barbaro was arrested. Pasquale Barbaro's father Francesco Barbaro was a boss throughout the 1970s and early 1980s until his retirement.[29]
Belgium: 'Ndrangheta clans purchased almost "an entire neighbourhood" in Brussels with laundered money originating from drug trafficking. On 5 March 2004, 47 people were arrested, accused of drug trafficking and money laundering to purchase real estate in Brussels for some 28 million euros. The activities extended to the Netherlands where large quantities of heroin and cocaine had been purchased by the Pesce-Bellocco clan from Rosarno and the Strangio clan from San Luca.[30][31]
Canada: In Canada, the 'Ndrangheta is believed to be involved in the smuggling of unlicensed tobacco products through ties with criminal elements in cross-border Native American tribes.[32] According to Alberto Cisterna of the Italian National Anti-Mafia Directorate, the ‘Ndrangheta has a heavy presence in Canada. "There is a massive number of their people in North America, especially in Toronto. And for two reasons. The first is linked to the banking system. Canada's banking system is very secretive; it does not allow investigation. So Canada is the ideal place to launder money. The second reason is to smuggle drugs." Like most organized crime, the 'Ndrangheta have found Canada a useful North American entry point given its porous ports and proximity to the United States.[33] A Canadian branch labelled the "Siderno Group" – because its members primarily came from the Ionian coastal town of Siderno in Calabria – is based in Canada at least since the 1950s. Siderno is also home to one of the 'Ndrangheta's biggest and most important clans, heavily involved in the global cocaine business and money laundering.[33] Antonio Commisso, the alleged leader of the Siderno group, is reported to lead efforts to import "...illicit arms, explosives and drugs..."[34] Elements of 'Ndrangheta have been reported to have been present in Hamilton, Canada as early as 1911.[35]
Colombia: 'Ndrangheta clans were closely associated with the AUC paramilitary groups led Salvatore Mancuso, a son of Italian immigrants; he surrendered to Álvaro Uribe's government to avoid extradition to the U.S.[36] According to Giuseppe Lumia of the Italian Parliamentary Antimafia Commission, 'Ndrangheta clans are actively involved in the production of cocaine.[37]
France [citation needed]
Germany: According to a study by the German foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), 'Ndrangheta groups are using Germany to invest cash from drugs and weapons smuggling. Profits are invested in hotels, restaurants and houses, especially along the Baltic coast and in the eastern German states of Thuringia and Saxony.[38][39] Investigators believe that the mafia's bases in Germany are used primarily for clandestine financial transactions. In 1999, the state Office of Criminal Investigation in Stuttgart investigated an Italian from San Luca who had allegedly laundered millions through a local bank, the Sparkasse Ulm. The man claimed that he managed a profitable car dealership, and authorities were unable to prove that the business was not the source of his money. The Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) concluded – seven years ago – that "the activities of this 'Ndrangheta clan represent a multi-regional criminal phenomenon."[40] In 2009, a confidential report by the BKA said some 229 'Ndrangheta families were living in Germany, and were involved in gun-running, money laundering, drug- dealing, and racketeering, as well as legal businesses. Some 900 people were involved in criminal activity, and were also legal owners of hundreds of restaurants, as well as being major players in the property market in the former East. The most represented 'Ndrangheta family originated from the city of San Luca, with some 200 members in Germany.[41][42] A war between the two 'Ndrangheta clans Pelle-Romeo (Pelle-Vottari) and Strangio-Nirta from San Luca that had started in 1991 and resulted in several deaths spilled into Germany in 2007; six men were shot to death in front of an Italian restaurant in Duisburg on 15 August 2007.[43][44][45] (See San Luca feud.)
Netherlands: Sebastiano Strangio allegedly lived for 10 years in the Netherlands, where he managed his contacts with Colombian cocaine cartels. He was arrested in Amsterdam on 27 October 2005.[46][47][48] The seaports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam are used to import cocaine. The Giorgi, Nirta and Strangio clans from San Luca have a base in the Netherlands and Brussels (Belgium).[49]
Spain [citation needed]
Mexico - Working in conjunction with a Mexican drug cartel mercenary army known as Los Zetas in the drug trade.[50]
United States: The earliest evidence of 'Ndrangheta activity in the U.S. points to an intimidation scheme run by the syndicate in Pennsylvania mining towns; this scheme was unearthed in 1906.[51] Current 'Ndrangheta activities in America mainly involve drug trafficking, arms smuggling, and money laundering. It is known that the 'Ndrangheta branches in North America have been associating with the Italian-American organized crime. The Suraci family from Reggio Calabria has moved some of its operations to the U.S. The family was founded by Giuseppe Suraci who has been in the United States since 1962. His younger brother, D'Agostino, runs the family in Calabria. This family is known to be extremely ruthless and violent when dealing with their enemies.[citation needed]
'Ndrangheta in popular culture

Beginning in 2000, music producer Francesco Sbano released three CD compilations of Italian mafia folk songs over a five-year period.[52] Collectively known as La Musica della Mafia, these compilations consist mainly of songs written by 'Ndrangheta musicians, often sung in Calabrian and dealing with themes such as vengeance (Sangu chiama sangu), betrayal (I cunfirenti), justice within the 'Ndrangheta (Nun c’é pirdunu), and the ordeal of prison life (Canto di carcerato).[53]
See also
List of 'ndrine
List of most wanted fugitives in Italy
Organized crime in Italy
[p] - The word 'Ndrangheta is pronounced "en-drahng-eh-ta" as respelled, although the first syllable is silent in Calabrian unless immediately preceded by a vowel.[5]
^ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/14/world/europe/14italy.html
^ Gratteri & Nicasso, Fratelli di sangue, pp. 23-28
^ Godfather's arrest fuels fear of bloody conflict, The Observer, 24 February 2008
^ (Italian) Condello, leader pacato e spietato, La Repubblica, 19 February 2008
^ a b c d e f "Move over, Cosa Nostra." The Guardian, 8 June 2006.
^ Im Schattenreich der Krake, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 3 February 2006. (German)
^ a b c "Mafiosi move north to take over the shops and cafés of Milan." The Times, 5 May 2007.
^ Web Editor (28 March 2006). "Mafia drugs submarine seized". News From Italy. Italy Magazine. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
^ Mafia suspects arrested in Italy, BBC News, 30 August 2007.
^ a b (French) "Six morts dans un règlement de comptes mafieux en Allemagne." Le Monde. 15 August 2007.
^ a b "Crisis among the "Men of Honor." interview with Letizia Paoli, Max Planck Research, February 2004
^ a b c Review of: Paoli, Mafia Brotherhoods
^ Paoli, Mafia Brotherhoods, p. 32
^ (Italian)Relazione annuale, Commissione parlamentare d’inchiesta sul fenomeno della criminalit  organizzata mafiosa o similare, 30 July 2003
^ a b c d e f Varese, Federico. "How Mafias Migrate: The Case of the 'Ndrangheta in Northern Italy." Law & Society Review. June 2006.
^ (Italian) "La pax della 'ndrangheta soffoca Reggio Calabria." La Repubblica. 25 April 2007.
^ a b c Paoli, Mafia Brotherhoods, p. 29
^ "The 'Ndrangheta Looms Large." AmericanMafia.com.
^ a b c Paoli. Mafia Brotherhoods, p. 59
^ Paoli, Mafia Brotherhoods, p. 116
^ Cocaine: a European Union perspective in the global context, EMCDDA/ Europol, Lisbon, April 2010
^ World Drug Report 2009, UNODC, 2009
^ The Rothschilds of the Mafia on Aruba, by Tom Blickman, Transnational Organized Crime, Vol. 3, No. 2, Summer 1997
^ (Italian) Uno degli affari di Cosa Nostra e 'Ndrangheta insieme, Notiziario Droghe, 30 May 2005
^ (Italian) Il fatturato della ’Ndrangheta Holding: 2,9% del Pil nel 2007, 'Ndrangheta Holding Dossier 2008, Centro Documentazione Eurispes
^ Lamberti, Rob (11 February 2005). "Clans here for 50 years". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 7 April 2007.
^ Close family ties and bitter blood feuds, The Guardian, 16 August 2007
^ (Spanish) Mafia calabresa: cae una red que traficaba droga desde Argentina, Clarín, 8 November 2006.
^ AFP lands 'world's biggest drug haul', news.com.au, 8 August 2008
^ (Italian) "A Bruxelles un intero quartiere comprato dalla 'ndrangheta." La Repubblica. 5 March 2004.
^ (French) La mafia calabraise recycle   Bruxelles, La Libre Belgique, 6 March 2004.
^ Thompson, John C. (January 1994). "Sin-Tax Failure: The Market in Contraband Tobacco and Public Safety". The Mackenzie Institute. Retrieved 7 April 2007.
^ a b Why Italy's scariest Mob loves Canada, National Post, 24 November 2007
^ "Organized Crime in Canada: A Quarterly Summary". Nathanson Society. April to June, 2005. Retrieved 7 April 2007.
^ Nicaso, Antonio (24 June 2001). "The twisted code of silence: Part 4 — Murder, extortion and drug dealing exemplified organized crime in Toronto". Corriere Canadese.
^ (Spanish) Tiene Italia indicios sobre presencia de cárteles mexicanos en Europa, El Universal, 15 April 2007
^ (Spanish) La mafia calabresa produce su cocaína en Colombia, El Universal (Caracas), 30 October 2007.
^ Italian Mafia Invests Millions in Germany, Deutsche Welle, 13 November 2006
^ (German) Mafia setzt sich in Deutschland fest, Berliner Zeitung, 11 November 2006
^ A Mafia Wake-Up Call, Der Spiegel, 20 August 2007
^ Report: Germany losing battle against Calabrian mafia, The Earth Times, 12 August 2009
^ (German) Italienische Mafia wird in Deutschland heimisch, Die Zeit, 12 August 2009
^ A mafia family feud spills over, BBC News Online, 16 August 2007
^ How the tentacles of the Calabrian Mafia spread from Italy, Times Online, 15 August 2007
^ Six Italians Killed in Duisburg, Spiegel Online, 15 August 2007
^ (Italian) 'Ndrangheta, preso ad Amsterdam il boss Sebastiano Strangio, La Repubblica, 28 October 2005
^ (Italian) 'Ndrangheta, estradato dall'Olanda il boss Sebastiano Strangio, La Repubblica, 27 March 2006
^ (Dutch) Maffiakillers Duisburg zijn hier, De Telegraaf, 19 August 2007
^ (Italian) Olanda, Paese-rifugio dei killer, Il Sole 24 Ore, 18 August 2007
^ (Spanish) Los Zetas toman el control por la ‘Forza’: Nicola Gratteri, Excelsior, October 12, 2008
^ Who are the 'Ndrangheta, Reuters, 15 August 2007
^ "Songs of the Criminal Life." NPR, 2 October 2002. Accessed 8 September 2009. Archived 10 September 2009.
^ Gerd Ribbeck. "www.malavita.com". Archived from the original on 10 September 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
(Italian) Gratteri, Nicola & Antonio Nicaso (2006). Fratelli di sangue, Cosenza: Pellegrini Editore, ISBN 88-8101-373-8
Paoli, Letizia (2003). Mafia Brotherhoods: Organized Crime, Italian Style, New York: Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-515724-9 (Review by Klaus Von Lampe) (Review by Alexandra V. Orlova)
Varese, Federico. "How Mafias Migrate: The Case of the 'Ndrangheta in Northern Italy." Law & Society Review, June 2006.
External links
(Italian) Il fatturato della ’Ndrangheta Holding: 2,9% del Pil nel 2007, 'Ndrangheta Holding Dossier 2008, Centro Documentazione Eurispes
(Italian) DIA, with bi-annual reports on organized crime in Italy
(Italian) Italian Guardia di Finanza Website
Italian organized crime groups (Abstracted from: The Global Mafia, The New World Order of Organized Crime)
(Italian) Ammazzateci tutti, anti-'Ndrangheta organization
(Italian) Relazione annuale sulla 'ndrangheta, Commissione parlamentare di inchiesta sul fenomeno della criminalità organizzata mafiosa o similare (Relatore: Francesco Forgione), February 2008

Written by Angelo Carmelo Gallitto

The Calabrian “Honoured Society”, well known as “’Ndrangheta”, is the equivalent of Sicilian Mafia in Calabria region, south Italy. However its origin is unknown, it emerged later than other Italian organizations, maybe because Calabria was more isolated than others even inside south eastern regions. Some experts say it was influenced by Camorra and the Mafia, but despite its rituals and behaviours are similar to them, it has its own characters. Probably it was present at least since the 1700s when a brotherhood called “Societ  degli Spanzati” emerged in the village of Vibo; of course it’s very difficult to have certain information before 1861 because of the inefficiency and corruption of previous rulers, like Spanish or Bourbons.

Like Sicilians, also Calabrians emigrated abroad, especially to Canada and Australia, since the beginning of 1900s, creating branches of ‘Ndrangheta. Within the ‘Ndrangheta, more than Camorra and Cosa Nostra, the nucleus of the organization is the blood family; it causes a lot of feuds between different familie nucleuses also inside the same village.

In the 1960s and 1970s the Calabrian mafia was still archaic and its principal business were the kidnappings which it often did in north and middle Italy, but in the 1980s it became interested in drug trafficking, weapons sale and public works (construction). In the 1985-1991 period, later on the murder of boss Paolo De Stefano, the most violent mafia war happened in Reggio Calabria city, which left about 800 dead. The war was fought between De Stefano-Tegano and Condello-Imerti groups.

When the mafia war in Reggio Calabria stopped, the ‘Ndrangheta became more powerful and richer thanks to international drug trafficking, but especially because it formed a Commission, advised by Sicilian bosses worried about their Calabrian counterpart who were going to break down themselves because of too many murders. Nowadays ‘Ndrangheta is considered a very powerful branch of the Italian O.C., it controls most of drug trafficking around Europe and it has connections in all the north Italian regions and a lot of countries around the world.

Italian police seize alleged Calabrian mafia boss
Published: Tuesday July 13, 2010

Italian police dealt a major blow to the country's most powerful mafia clan, arresting the top boss of the 'Ndrangheta syndicate and more than 300 other suspected members, officials said Tuesday.

Suspects were arrested on suspicion of mafia association, murder, arms offences, trafficking, extortion and other crimes in the largest operation against the 'Ndrangheta in the last 15 years.

Among those seized was 80-year-old Domenico Oppedisano, reportedly elected to the top of the 'Ndrangheta in August 2009 during a wedding, Italian media said. But he was said to be more of a top representative of local clans than an overlord.

The swoop "struck the 'Ndrangheta at the heart of its criminal system, both in terms of organisation and in terms of finance," Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said.

About 3,000 police officers made arrests and seized tens of millions of euros (dollars) in assets in the southern region of Calabria as well as in northern Italy.

The operation's success against the crime family "has no equal in the history of our country," said Maroni.

Police seized assets, weapons and drugs and arrested entrepreneurs working in the health sector and a local healthcare manager in northern Italy.

In recent decades, the 'Ndrangheta has become the largest and most feared of Italy's four large organised crime syndicates, which include Sicily's Cosa Nostra, the Camorra in the area of Naples and the smaller Sacra Corona Unita in the southeastern region of Puglia.

The arrests in northern Italy, aimed at the 'Ndrangheta's commercial interests, "confirm that northern Italy is the true theatre of operations for the 'Ndrangheta," anti-mafia prosecutor Alberto Cisterna told AFP.

Healthcare "is the sector they prefer, since it allows them to establish contacts with politics and with public administration," Cisterna said.

The operation showed how the 'Ndrangheta is organised in a vertical structure, in some ways resembling that of Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian mafia, and not a horizontal one as earlier suspected, observers said.

"The 'Ndrangheta still has its head in the heart of Calabria," Antonio Nicaso, a 'Ndrangheta expert and professor of the history of organised crime at Middlebury College in the US state of Vermont, told AFP.

Nicaso said the operation was "the mother of all investigations," because besides showing how the syndicate is organised, it also discovered the secrets of the 'Ndrangheta "summits, initiation rites and elections."

"Even before this operation, the 'Ndrangheta was shedding its skin. Youths were pressing ahead" after many of the older leaders had been arrested, Nicaso said, adding: "This operation has completed that decimation."

The arrests come after an internal war during which the northern branches tried -- and failed -- to secede from the southern base.

Northern clans had realised they were "the financial and political heart of the organisation," but the 'Ndrangheta crushed their attempt because it wanted to "maintain rites and management in Calabria ... all of the bosses are from there," prosecutor Cisterna said.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has promised to rid Italy of the "terrible scourge" of organised crime. His government has carried out hundreds of operations against the syndicates, arresting more than 5,800 people and seizing more than two billion euros of assets.

The 'Ndrangheta is also considered to be the main broker in international cocaine traffic, with a virtual monopoly of cocaine coming from Colombia.

The syndicate reinvests and recycles money from the drug trade into legitimate investments in northern Italy and abroad, from Australia to Latin America.

Major 'Ndrangheta real estate investments have been uncovered in recent years in Germany and Belgium.

Italy's Eurispes institute estimated the 'Ndrangheta's turnover from trafficking in drugs and arms, prostitution and extortion at 44 billion euros (55 billion dollars).

In a separate operation on Monday, police seized property worth 330 millions euros belonging to businessman Gioacchino Campolo, affiliated with the 'Ndrangheta and known as the "poker king."



Italy is run by the mafia. They just fight with each other for state control


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