The Mafia and its legacy – from Past to Present
Many people repeatedly ask: “what does the modern Mafia looks like?” Some may say that the reports of its fall might be told with great exaggeration. So we ask, are the convoluted organized criminal families of the Mafia still exist? And where are they now?
In January 9, the Italian as well as the German law authorities arrested a total of 169 alleged mafiosi, a term used in recognizing a member of the mafia, who are suspected to controlled businesses that ranges from funeral parlours to food production in both Italy and Germany.
According to Reuters reports, the cooperative operation between the two police force was to seize the Farao-Marincola branch of the “Ndrangheta Family”, which is one of the three Italian syndicates along with the Camorra in Campania and the Sicilian Mafia.
In Italy, the most feared and powerful Mafia syndicate in the modern era is not the TV famous Sicilian “Cosa Nostra”, it is the Calabrian “Ndrangheta”, a byproduct of the state’s war against the Sicilian Mafia.
During the 1990s, a series of assassinations across Sicily was recorded, targeting judges, police chiefs and politicians that are openly against the Mafia. This in turn started a public backlash towards the Mafia, prompting a large scale crackdown that surely aided in subduing the strength of the Sicilian Mafia.
According to credible sources, while Italian media and authorities were preoccupied with their battle against the Sicilians, the Calabrians took the chance to slowly and steadily expand their territory into northern Italy.
As stated in the 2001 book of Piero Grasso, “The Invisible Mafia”, the full blast crackdown was done with a flurry of anti-Mafia campaigns which eventually led into another key change within the crime syndicate’s way of life.
The era of celebrity mob bosses, flashy vehicles and expensive cigars is no longer the norm. The modern mafiosi have adapted to contemporary culture, usually keeping a low profile, dressing casually and simply going invisible from the public eye. Grasso also wrote that the absence of dead policemen or kidnapped journalists has led their opponents into complacency.
According to Federico Cafiero De Raho, a national anti-Mafia prosecutor, the legend of the Mafia as a blood thirsty beast is not only the brainchild of television programs and movies. Specifically in southern Italy wherein organized crimes has already occupied the entire territory.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the modern mafia has proven to be highly adaptable to modern times and scenarios despite of the continued arrests and prosecutions. The 21st century mafia still preys on the weak and are still seeking economic crises to exploit for opportunities.
The Mafia has extended its grip across the Europe and beyond which is mainly supported by international drug smuggling and trade. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Italian crime families are currently operating from Armenia to Australia.
Extortion, prostitution, arms dealing and money counterfeiting and laundering are the usual operations these crime families are connected to. However, drug trade and trafficking is the most profitable operation so far.