If there is one thing the mafia has proven over the years is that they are incredibly proficient at adapting to changing circumstances and environments. The current coronavirus health crisis is no exception.
The ‘Ndrangheta, Europe’s most powerful mafia clan have now seamlessly moved into the funeral home and medical transport businesses and has its eyes on Australia to invest millions of dollars of illicit drug money.
“Supply of medicines, medical equipment, of course transportation, funeral services, cleaning services, waste disposal, all these are areas where ‘Ndrangheta are now looking for opportunities to increase their illegal profits,” said Interpol secretary-general Jürgen Stock. “ ‘ Ndrangheta was infiltrating the legitimate economy with poorer people offered handouts then recruited as drug mules” he added.
“COVID-19 is providing ‘Ndrangheta and other crime groups with increased opportunities, they are well placed to offer assistance to large, medium and small companies,” he said.
A relatively new INTERPOL scheme has been embraced by the Australian Federal Police as an effort to crack down on the ‘Honoured Society’ in Australia, better known of course as the mafia.
The INTERPOL Co-operation Against ‘Ndrangheta (I-CAN) project will gather intelligence from 32 countries where the cartel operates in a coordinated effort to stop their illegal business and organized crime activities.
Governments from around the world will share tax and customs information in an effort to track money laundering and the movement of illegal profits between countries.
In a statement, the Australian Federal Police said “The AFP is an active participant in I-CAN efforts to disrupt the ‘Ndrangheta mafia networks globally. It is expected that along with other criminal networks, the ‘Ndrangheta will seek to take advantage of the disruption and opportunities created by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In another sign of how serious the Australian government is taking this threat, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission has confirmed its awareness of the mafia threat and that it is monitoring suspicious financial activity.
In a statement, the ACIC said “We work through a number of joint initiatives that bring together government, private sector, and regulatory stakeholders to target the key financial crime threats to Australia,”
Just like the mafia is taking advantage of the desperation of Italians due to this health crisis, they are trying to do the same in Australia in a way so widespread the likes of which have never been seen in that country before. The Australian government is determined to stop that.