|Calabria/ Italy|  Ndrangheta

Born:  Mid 1800's

Dead:  /

Sicily has Cosa Nostra, Campania has The Camorra and Calabria has the 'Ndrangheta. The name is taken from the Greek word 'andragathía', which means 'Heroism/Virtue'. In the 1870's the 'Ndrangheta mainly focused on extortion and protection rackets, but also kidnapping and murder. The structure is not the same as that of the Mafia with bosses, underbosses, caporegimes etc., but it is devided in blood families ('Ndrine). It has about 200 clans and as many as 7000 members. The 'Ndrangheta are known for their Cocaine trade (in cooperation with Colombian drug kartels), for smuggling weapons and human trafficking.

The Duisberg slayings
The most notorious 'Ndrangheta families are the Gioia Tauro clan, the Reggio Calabria clan and the Pelle-Romeo and Striangia-Nirta from San Luca. Several 'Ndrangheta clans are also associated with the Sicilian Mafia and Camorra. The 'Ndrangheta remained well hidden from public eye for many decades until a feud between both San Luca families resulted in the murder of 6 men in Duisberg, Germany, in August 2007. These murders made headlines all over Europe and caused the 'Ndrangheta to be known by the general public. Ever since police is frequently arresting members from the 'Ndrangheta. On the 23st of May, 2008, police arrested Giovanni Nirta, who was believed of being the mastermind behind the hit. Later that year, in September, police also caught Fransesco Pelle, a leading member of the other faction.

Police crackdowns
Ever since the Duisberg killings the Italian government has set it's eye on the 'Ndrangheta. Old investigations were reopened and current one's got more support. In late December 2009 about 26 members of the 'Ndrangheta in Gioia Tauro were captured for their involvement in illicit trade. Next to the arrests they also confiscated $70 million worth of goods and linked the operation to investments such as hotels and companies, which were also confiscated.

In February 2010 the Justice Department filed for the arrest of 56 men who were all involved in a massive money laundering operation worth up to €2 billion. Among the suspects was Italian senator Nicola Di Girolamo, and billionaire Silvio Scaglia, who was the CEO of Telecom company Fastweb. Police believes that Scaglia was part of a ring with ties to the 'Ndrangheta that used phony companies for money laundering. Next to Fastweb also another Telecom giant, Telecom Italia Sparkle, was placed under surveillance after uncovering tax evasions up to €400 million.

Studies revealed that the 'Ndrangheta is part of one of the richest organizations in the world with anual profits up to 50 billion dollars.

Guns for ancient artifacts
In 2016 Italian journalist Domenico Quirico from La Stampa went undercover as an art dealer from Turin to search for stolen artefacts and was able to make contacts with art collectors who have ties with the 'Ndrangheta. One such collector showed him a marble statue of emperor August, coming from the Libyan town of Leptis Magna. He also had a bigger statue of a Greek Cyclone, worth up to one million dollar. The question immediately rose questions as to how did the collector receive such artifacts? During his investigation Quirico came to notice that the 'Ndrangheta uses several contacts in Libya who, in exchange for kalasjnikovs and rocket launchers, get them stolen artifacts from museums and ruins in ISIS territory. According to the collector there is a big interest for artifacts like this from the United Arab Emirates. Art dealing remains one of ISIS' main sources of income to continue their campaign of terror.

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