The Ndrangheta, the branch of the Italian mafia rooted in the region of Calabria, is the world’s leader in drug smuggling, the head of Italy’s police force, Antonio Manganelli, says.
In recent years, a string of police operations in northern Italy and the 2007 execution-style slayings of six suspected clan affiliates in Duisburg, Germany, have exposed the extent to which the Ndrangheta has expanded beyond its Calabrian base.
It is “today perhaps the strongest, the most present (organised crime force) in the field of drugs, I can confirm that,” Manganelli said during a press conference in Rome with Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble.
“Calabrian groups are thought to be the strongest,” Manganelli insisted, noting that he could not confirm whether they controlled 60 per cent of the world’s cocaine market, as a journalist had asked.
Underscoring the concerns about the Ndrangheta, Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government later on Tuesday adopted an emergency decree, removing from office the local administration in Reggio Calabria, the regional capital of Calabria, because of mafia infiltration concerns.
It was the first time that such a decision was imposed on a provincial capital, Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri said, speaking about the “contiguity” between Ndrangheta circles and the local centre-right administration, elected in 2011.
Noble was in Rome to prepare an Interpol general assembly for November 5-8 in the Italian capital.
He said the event would be preceded by a meeting of interior ministers from more than 100 countries to discuss global security and anti-terrorism.