All countries are represented by a mafia

The Italian Mafia Syndicates

Cosa Nostra in Sicily

The origins of the Italian mafia lie in Sicily. The Cosa Nostra rules there, which means "our cause". From Sicily, the mafia model has spread to southern Italy. Cosa Nostra is also the name of the branch of the Sicilian Mafia in the USA.

The organizational structure of the Cosa Nostra is strictly hierarchical and pyramidal: All members of the Cosa Nostra are divided into so-called families, each with a capo as boss. Above everyone else is the "Capo dei capi", the boss of the bosses. The Cosa Nostra is estimated to have 5000 members.

To this day, racketeering is one of the main sources of income, affecting around 70 percent of Sicilian entrepreneurs. Smuggling and arms trafficking also play a role, especially the heroin trafficking, which Cosa Nostra has been distributing in America and Europe since the 1960s.

The Cosa Nostra is said to have lost its role as the most powerful mafia organization in Italy. After numerous assassinations of high-ranking state officials, including the murders of the two judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992, the pressure of the authorities on organized crime in Sicily remains the greatest.

'Ndrangheta in Calabria

The 'Ndrangheta, who is also behind the Duisburg revenge killings, is based in Calabria, the tip of Italy's boot. Today it is considered to be the richest, most powerful and most influential mafia organization in the world. Their annual turnover is estimated at 35 billion euros.

In contrast to the Cosa Nostra in Sicily, the 'Ndrangheta is organized like a loose network of powerful families. Almost 150 clans rule between the cities of Catanzaro and Reggio di Calabria. Extortion of protection money, arms smuggling and above all the cocaine trade are the classic businesses of the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta.

The word 'Ndrangheta comes from the Greek and means something like "masculinity" and "heroism".

Camorra in Naples and Campania

In Naples and Campania the Camorra prevails, which is often just called "the system". The Camorra is an association of local alliances or clans. These clans war against each other in a struggle for money and power.

In recent years, the Camorra has hit the headlines primarily because of its garbage deals. It prevents the construction of waste incineration plants in order to maintain its control over the existing landfills. These landfills are illegally dumped with toxic waste, which has led to the soil in the Naples area becoming heavily contaminated.

In addition to waste management, the Camorra controls the trade in counterfeit branded products, drug trafficking and the construction industry as far as northern Italy.

Sacra Corona Unita in Apulia

The youngest Mafia organization is active in Apulia: the Sacra Corona Unita (SCU). It only came into being in the 1980s when two large gangs merged. The Sacra Corona Unita is a comparatively small organization with around 1,800 members.

The SCU maintains close contacts with organized crime in Eastern Europe and lives, among other things, from drug trafficking, forced prostitution and the smuggling of illegal immigrants, especially from Albania.

Status: January 31, 2018, 9:16 am