Italian government and INTERPOL lead global effort to reign in ‘Ndrangheta.

A recently announced joint law enforcement program by Italy and INTERPOL will focus on pinpointing the criminal activities of one of the world’s largest and most powerful crime syndicates.

The effort, underwritten by the Italian Department of Public Security, will be called the Interpol Cooperation Against ‘Ndrangheta, or I-CAN for short. It will focus initially on identifying the nefarious activities of the crime group whose tentacles now extend to dozens of countries around the globe. It will then attempt to dismantle the organization piece by piece.

Ironically, ‘Ndrangheta is derived from the Greek ‘andragathia’ which means gallantry and strong goodness. “Ndrangheta is anything but gallant or good.

The organization now has a presence in 32 countries, 17 of which are in Europe. It has amassed enormous wealth and power through its dealings in drug trafficking, corruption and the theft of public monies through fraud and rigged contracts.

Due to the ‘Ndrangheta’s global reach, the Italian government and INTERPOL are planning to lead a global effort to eradicate it.

Deputy Director General of Public Security and Central Director of the Italian Criminal Police, Prefect Vittorio Rizzi, at the launch of the I-CAN project.

Deputy Director General of Public Security and Central Director of the Italian Criminal Police, Prefect Vittorio Rizzi, at the launch of the I-CAN project.

I-CAN will have three pillars of support:

1. Content – Italian law enforcement officials already have significant experience and a knowledge base regarding how the ‘Ndrangheta is organized and how it operates.

2. Access – A key component of the plan is to make the information on trends and potential targets for law enforcement accessible to the targeted countries.

3. Action – Coordination of joint investigations with national law enforcement to identify patterns of criminal behavior and to identify and arrest the perpetrators who are wanted for their connection to activities linked to ‘Ndrangheta.

INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock has expressed his organization’s belief that ‘Ndrangheta has repeatedly demonstrated proficiency for penetrating political organizations in a variety of economic environments, and it’s shown a stunning appetite for corruption. While there have been some joint law enforcement successes in the past, it’s hoped I-CAN will lead to even more operational cooperation among countries currently using INTERPOL as a global platform.


So how does ‘Ndrangheta operate?

‘Ndrangheta uses state-of-the-art techniques to wash its illegal bounty and turn it into clean cash. In many countries, what looks like ‘clean’ currency ultimately ends up undermining individual economies due to the fact that it alters the fundamental fairness of capitalistic competition. This, of course, causes honest entrepreneurs to take flight.

One of ‘Ndrangheta’s tactics is to take control of public funding, not through violence or the threat of violence, but through the establishment of seemingly legitimate companies that then use collusion and corruption to extort municipal funds. It has taken over companies operating in the construction, catering, import and export, transport, gaming and betting, and waste collection and disposal industries.

Finally, it has the technological savvy to use the deep web and Darknet to engage in illegal commerce. Looks like they’ve found a new place to fly under the radar.