|Campania/ Italy|  Camorra

Born:  Early 1800s

Dead:  /

The Camorra is an old criminal society wich existed somewhere in the early 1800's in the Region of Campania, Italy, with it's main capital Naples. The Camorra, often referred to as 'The System' by insiders, has it's branches all over the world. The most notorious and dangerous organisations are the Di Lauro, Nuvoletta and Casalesi clan. Unlike the Sicilian Mafia, The Camorra also has several women who play big roles in several clans.

The Camorra is said by some authoritative sources to have originated with the Garduna, a late-Middle-Ages criminal society based in Seville, Spain, which was transported to Naples when Spain took control of the region. Compared to its counterparts elsewhere in Italy, the Sacra corona unita in Puglia and the 'Ndrangheta in Calabria, it was more involved in piracy. Also, compared to the Sicilian Cosa Nostra's pyramidal structure, the Camorra is made up of many clans that often fight each other. Drive-by shootings by camorrista often result in casualties among the local populations, but such episodes are often difficult to investigate because of the widespread Omertà.

Enrico Alfano
Picture taken during the Vitterbo Trials, 1911. One of the first publicly known Camorristi was Enrico Alfano, a man who grew up on the streets of Naples and became affliated with the Camorra at a young age. In 1906 he orchestrated the murder of alledged turncoat Gennaro Cuocolo and his wife. Before he could be captured he fled to America where he joined fellow Camorristi in Brooklyn, New York. Alfano was no stranger for many of them and he was threated with respect. Rapdily he filled in a leading role within the organisation but was soon to be noticed by Italian 'supercop' Joseph Petrosino. Petrosino recieved a letter from an unknown man which informed him that Alfano was a wanted fugitive from Naples and was the leader of a secret society. Petrosino and his squad soon arrested Alfano in 1907 and sent him back by boat towards Italy where he would stand trial. Alfano however did sent out a death sentence on Petrosino. 2 years later Petrosino was murdered while being in Palermo for investigations. It is not clear if Petrosino was murdered by Alfano's men or he was murdered by the Sicilian Mafia as many books claim. Alfano was however charged with his murder.

After being jailed for a couple of years the trials began in 1911 in Vitterbo, near Rome. The trial became one of the biggest in Italian history as many gangsters were charged with the murder of Cuoccolo and other criminal activities. All of the accused men were seated in a giant cage while being in court, much like the Maxi Trial 75 years later. Alfano and many others were found guilty and recieved long prison sentences.

The New York Camorra

The Camorra also had it's presence in America during the early 1900's. Many Italians left Europe for the land of the free during the mid 1800's and early 1900's. Amongst those men where many criminals who continued their extortion businesses. In New York the Camorra had notorious branches in Staten Island and Brooklyn, from which the Navy Street Gang was one of the most prominent off. Those Camorra branches, backed by others gangs in the region, rivaled the Sicilian Morello Gang for power during the mid 1910's, which evolved in a war simply called the Mafia-Camorra war. The Camorra faction was headed by Pellegrino Morano and Alessandro Vollero. Both leaders were eventually arrested and jailed for the murder of a Morello leader in 1916, leaving the Camorra territory to be taken over by the Sicilian boss of bosses Salvatore D'Aquila. During the 1920's and especially the 1930's many Italians began to mix up with Sicilians and formed the present crime families, although the Sicilians remained the dominant force for a couple of decades. Nowadays however, there are still old and new independant Camorra groups throughout the American Content who have strong connections to the clans in their native Campania. Their presence today is assured by the business of false clothes, which are originally manufactured in Naples, Italy, and then exported to the United States together with drugs. Like the Cosa Nostra and the 'Ndrangheta the Camorra also earns millions of dollars by drugs and has many connections with other criminal society's such as the Russian Mafiya, the Albanese Mob and African drug cartels.

The Camorra war of the 1980's
During the 1970's Raffaele Cutolo made an attempt to unify the Camorra clans by forming the Nuova Camorra Organizzata (NCO) while being in a Naples jail. As the gang grew it's outside members began extorting local businesses and became heavily involved in the Cocain trade, mainly because the Sicilian Mafia dominated the Heroin trade. The organisation was ruthless and became dominant inside the Camorra untill rival clans formed an alliance to oppose Cutolo's criminal empire. Those clans, headed by bosses such as Antonio Bardellino, Michele Zaza, Lorenzo Nuvoletta and Carmine Alfieri formed the "Nuova Famiglia", as a contrast to the NCO. The newly formed alliance was associated and backed by the violent Corleonesi from Sicily. The war resulted in many casualties and eventually led to the demise of the NCO. Cutolo was moved to another prison afterwards where his communication with the outside world was reduced to a minimum. Many of Cutolo's gangmembers defected to Carmine Alfieri's organisation or other clans. However, the Nuovo Familigia alliance would also dissapear as Antonio Bardellino got into a feud with the Nuvoletta's, leading to the murder of Bardellino in 1988. Others went their seperate ways but some of them remained associates and businesspartners.

Trash crisis
After about 200 years of existance the Camorra is still a big part of daily life in Italy. An example of how garbage filled the streets. The Camorra ownes the waste dumping industry in Naples since the 1980's which they use to retaliate against the Italian government. Since a decade there have been troubles with the waste management in Naples, but it has gotten worse since June 2007. The Camorra started to dispose all kinds of dangerous toxic wastes from northern companies; printer toners, residues from leather tanneries, harmful dusts from pharmaceutical companies. That gets mixed with cement, non-metal car parts and even the remains of the dead from paupers' graves (which have to be disposed of every 50 years). As months passed by the streets were filled with large amounts of garbage and a terrible stench covered the Historic city. The Garbage scandal turned out to be very bad for the tourist industry. In January 2008 the government sent over the Italian military to clean the mess up. The people blame the government for not doing more to stop the Camorra.

Camorra in present day life
The city of Naples has one of the highest murder rates of Europe. More than 100 people were killed in 2007. The city also has one of the highest ratio's of drug dealers. In September 2008 six African men were murdered in a tailer shop for alledgedly selling drugs in Camorra territory without authorization. This again proves the ruthlessness of the organisation. The many murders forced Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the Italian government to sent out 500 military troops to guard and secure the city borders in Campania on September 24, 2008. It's the second time the government sent's out the military to fight the Mafia. The first time was during the 1990's to fight the Corleonesi in Sicily. To this present day the Camorra still has a great amount of Economical and Political influence throughout Italy. According to Roberto Saviano, writer of best seller 'Gomorrah', the suburb of Mondragone is the place were a group even goes around killing addicts and even people with HIV to ensure the virus does not spread. This is only another example of how they rule their territory. Because the Camorra also ownes allot of legitemate businesses , just like the Cosa Nostra and other organised crime syndicates, they offer many jobs to people as well. By this the inhabitants of the Campania region, and other places in Italy, are confronted with the Camorra on a daily scale, even if they don't know it.

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