The ‘Ndrangheta’ mafia group was sentenced to more than 2,200 years in prison by a court on Monday. This marks one of the largest mafia trials in Italy’s history. The ‘Ndrangheta’ has become the most powerful mafia organization in Italy and has spread throughout Europe and beyond its borders.
Originating from Calabria, southern Italy, the name of this group is believed to come from ancient Greek words meaning “man” and “brave”. The ‘Ndrangheta’ began expanding in the 1970s after reinvesting ransom money from kidnappings into public works projects and drug trafficking, including cocaine.
The ‘Ndrangheta’ is known for its ability to rely on traditional family loyalties while also maintaining maximum flexibility to explore new business opportunities both legally and illegally. They generate billions of euros annually through illegal waste trafficking, blackmail, usury, and other criminal activities. In 2008, it was estimated that their annual turnover was around 44 billion euros, which represented approximately 3% of Italy’s GDP at the time.
The ‘Ndrangheta’ has an established presence worldwide with local cells maintaining strong ties to their homeland of Calabria. They have been accused of various crimes such as drug and weapons trafficking with their counterparts in Latin America, using Chinese money brokers in Italy and Colombia to move funds for drug deals.
The Italian research group Eurispes assessed their annual turnover at around 44 billion euros in 2008, which represented approximately 3% of Italy’s GDP at the time. The ‘Ndrangheta’ are known to have an established presence as far away as Canada and Australia, as well as most of Western Europe.