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Underestimated Criminal Phenomenon: The Calabrian 'Ndrangheta

NCJ Number
European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Volume: 2 Issue: 3 Dated: (1994) Pages: 212-238
L Paoli
Date Published
27 pages
This article traces the history and criminal influence of the Calabrian 'ndrangheta, a criminal organization in Italy.
The criminal phenomenon named 'ndrangheta is an aggregate of mafia families -- according to the latest police inquiries they should be approximately 85 -- whose base is in Reggio Calabria Province and in its environs. Only after World War II did the word 'ndrangheta (a courageous and brave man) undergo a process of criminalization and began to be used to refer to organized crime of Calabrian origin. The 'ndrangheta is as involved, if not more so, than the Sicilian Cosa Nostra in international crime. The Calabrian groups are more resistant to police investigations than the Cosa Nostra because of their more compact structure, based on close-knit clans and groups of blood relatives. The network of the 'ndrangheta outside its region of origin both at a national and an international level is even more extensive and ramified than that developed by Sicilian mafia families. The share of illicit markets and the criminal methods used by the 'ndrangheta is just as extensive and ruthless as the Sicilian mafia. Their political influence, willingness to use violence, and infiltration of legitimate businesses are significant. There is some evidence that 'ndrangheta has cooperated with Cosa Nostra in terrorist acts to intimidate the government into softening its attacks on organized crime in Italy. 110 footnotes