There is another organized group from Sicily that has gone virtually unnoticed for years because of the rural area that spawned them. They are the Ndrangheta or Honor Society and they are made up of approximately 100 families in and around Calabria. They are now the largest organized crime group in the world with around 5,000 members worldwide. Their structure is very close to the Cosa Nostra but most members of the families are related by blood and in some villages all the men belong to the Ndrangheta. They are huge money makers by any standards because they pull in around 44 billion Euros a year or roughly 3% of Italy's GDP. Over 60% of their cash comes from drugs.
Many years ago men from the Ndrangheta immigrated to far flung corners of the globe and with them they brought the Ndrangheta. They developed contacts in place like Columbia where they got close to the cocaine traffickers. A lot of people think the Mexican cartels are in charge of cocaine trafficking but what they really are is the middle men. The large Colombian traffickers from Medellin and California saw their empires and their freedom taken away because they imported cocaine into the US. So they found willing and able partners in Mexico. The Ndrangheta formed a coalition with the Colombian traffickers and now they are the biggest cocaine importer to Europe. They surpassed the American and Sicilian Mafia in that area. They do work closely with the Mafia and in fact I’ve written about them before. They also move a lot of heroin.
They have operated for a long time in the US but have remained unknown. They have been here for 100 years going way back to extortion plots in rural areas where Italians worked. They had a long time member Vincenzo Coluccio in Los Angeles who was just deported on August 27 by Immigration and Customs. He was picked up by the DEA in 2010 for possession of methamphetamine, cocaine and a pistol. The Italian government wanted him back where he is wanted for drug trafficking. They claim he is a high ranking member of Mazzaferro Crime Family based in Calabria. He was in charge of exporting the cocaine from Los Angeles using a courier system as well other methods to move large amounts overseas. They would have couriers pick up small carry on bags with compartments to carry the cocaine and they would book their travel from Los Angeles to all over the Mediterranean. All these trips were book through Mirage Travel Agency which was owned by a Greek Italian. Rocco Coluccio, an Italian American, was the long time head of the clan in Los Angeles until he was killed in a car accident and that is what brought Vincenzo Coluccio to the forefront. There was a coffee distributor in Inglewood, California that never really sold coffee but a few known Italian drug traffickers would stop by and then leave. There was a similar one in Brooklyn near Henry and Union Streets. I am sure the Feds are keeping an eye on them.
The Ndrangheta controls Organized Crime on the East Coast of Australia since the 1920's. They had a war in the 1960's over the Victoria Market in Melbourne which moves tens of millions in fruit every year. They also imported more than 14 million ecstasy pills hidden inside tomato cans from Calabria. This was the largest bust of pills in 2008.
They are very big in Canada because Canadian banking laws make it easy to launder cash profits. They are in Spain which they use as a distribution point for Europe.
The Ndrangheta will continue to grow and become a bigger criminal organization as long as there is a war on terror keeping law enforcement busy.