Authorities took down approximately 170 members and associates of the Calabrian Mafia also known as the Ndrangeta in a massive anti-mafia bust in Italy and Germany.
According to reports the Farao clan and Marincola clan based in the Calabrian city of Ciro Marina were the main targets of the investigation. Investigators claim the mafia clans had infiltrated several legit businesses in both countries including funeral services, restaurants, and private garbage collection companies. In Italy, the mayor of Ciro Marina was arrested along with at least two other mayors along with multiple city councilors. There was at least a dozen arrest made in Germany on various organized crime offenses.
Italy’s Carabinieri police said the operation dismantled a major clan of the Ndrangheta leading to the seizure of approximately $50 million euros in assets. They claimed that the Italian mafia family forced restaurants to buy products such as wine and meat from complicit retailers and wholesalers they were associated with. They also forced people in Italy to use garbage collection and recycling companies that they had taken control of. They also uncovered links from between the Calabrian mafia and managers of government-financed migrant shelters according to a Reuters report. They were also using many of these legit companies to launder money made from various other criminal activities including drug trafficking.
The Ndrangheta have surpassed the Sicilian mafia in recent years becoming the most dominate organized crime group in Italy. They have about 100 clans in Calabria and have also developed deep roots in other countries including Canada and Australia. Their horizontal leadership structure and close family ties have made them harder to take down unlike the more traditional hierarchy system of Cosa Nostra. This Ndrangheta bust shows the Calabrian mob’s continuing efforts to invest in legitimate businesses both in and outside of Italy and their evolution into political corruption. Recent estimates have them controlling approx 80% of the cocaine trade in Europe and they continue to expand their massive drug operations to several other countries. Some experts put the organization’s annual revenue in the range of 40 billion dollars or about 3.5% of the GDP in Italy.