Chicago Tribune on the ‘Ndrangheta

Byzantine Church in Stilo, Calabria

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

Christine Spolar writes for the Chicago Tribune about the rise of the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta, an organized crime group that grew explosively in the 1990s with the fall of the Sicilian Mafia (which she calls Cosa Nostra — not actually accurate… see below) after the Sicilians started blowing up judges and killing politicians. The ‘Ndrangheta now has a tight relationship with the Colombian drug cartels and makes just over 60% of its revenues from drug trafficking. I understand they’re pretty cozy with the Neapolitan Camorra, too.

Oh, and if you care, “La Cosa Nostra,” “this thing of ours,” is an Italian/Sicilian-language term of purportedly American origin, whereas the term “Mafia” is of largely unexplained origin (there are many theories). My understanding has always been that the Sicilians called themselves the “Honored Society” if they called themselves anything, and the Sicilian-Americans started using “our thing” as a euphemism, its Italian/Sicilian translation becoming “LCN” in law enforcment abbreviation — hence the “LCN Task Force” of some law enforcement agencies.

Image from Wikipedia.


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