Europe: Calabrian Mob Grows Rich and Powerful on Cocaine Profits

Italy's Calabrian mob syndicate, the 'Ndrangheta, has now displaced the Sicilian Mafia as Europe's most powerful gangsters, thanks largely to the 'Ndrangheta's domination of cocaine trafficking on the continent, researchers and prosecutors said at a Rome conference Wednesday. The Calabrian mob did almost $69 billion in criminal business last year, mainly through the cocaine trade, according to researchers.

The 'Ndrangheta's take was the equivalent of 2.9% of Italian Gross Domestic Product in 2007, according to the Rome-based think tank Eurispes. That marked a 16% increase in Calabrian mob revenues over 2006, when the group garnered some $58 billion. According to Eurispes, some 62% of 'Ndrangheta revenues were from the drug trade, most it from direct business ties with Colombian cocaine cartels.

Calabria is one of Italy's poorest and most backwards regions, and the 'Ndrangheta traditionally concerned itself with kidnappings for ransom and shaking down small town merchants. But it has now expanded into being the largest player in Europe's flourishing cocaine trade, largely by eliminating intermediaries in its dealings with the Colombians, prosecutors said.

The 'Ndrangheta emerged dramatically on the European scene last year, when six young Italians were gunned down by mob hit men in Duisberg, Germany, in August, but the group had been growing in the shadows for some time, prosecutors said. Seven 'Ndrangheta members were arrested in the killings earlier this month.

"Duisberg might capture your imagination, but it was only a symptom of a 20-year-old, ignored presence" of the 'Ndrangheta in Europe, said Vincenzo Macri, a national anti-Mafia prosecutor based in Calabria. Macri added that feuding clans within the Calabrian mob are stockpiling weapons with their profits off the drug trade. "There is a particular instability" among clans now, "which could explode to the point of wars that could last for decades," he predicted.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Political complicity

It is obvious to anyone who has half a brain that these violent criminals have used their financial clout and threats to influence politicians. The continued ilegality of drugs is doing exactly what the cartels wish for. That's a monopoly on sale and production that guarantees a high price and a captive market. treament is a bottom priority for many governments. The fear and stigma associated with admitting drug use causes low participation in treatment plans when and if they are available. Decriminalization and treatment will be the deathnell for these criminal syndicates. By questioning the crime fighting credentials of politicians based on these facts purhaps we can shame them into acting in the best interests of the society. We are fools indeed if we believe that this huge amount of dirty money hasn't found its way into the pockets of politicians from Washington to Bangkok. Intelligence opperations around the world have used drug money to finance their covert operations for many years. "Let's grow up!" The anti drug war has become just another facet of the military industrial complex. Billions are made on both ends of the spectrum. They sell the drugs launder the money and then profit from the weapon systems ,technology and police equipment on the other end.

rothchild

rothchild

rockefller

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