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Italy needs more informants and turncoats

By David Amoruso

In order to break the stranglehold the Mafia – and in particular the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta – has on Italy, more citizens need to help police and provide them with information, authorities say. The request comes following a successful drug bust last Thursday in which 26 people, including 11 members of the ‘Ndrangheta, were arrested thanks to information provided by a businessman.

After the arrests, Italian authorities pointed out the importance of informants in helping police and prosecutors rid the country of the Mafia. “The testimony from Francomanno, the businessman, is very rare,” Anti-mafia Prosecutor Alessandra Dolci said. “His story shows that making deals with members of organized crime, with the hope of profiting, ends instead with being slowly swallowed up by the system.”

The businessman, Dolci explained, “had decided to accept as a minority shareholder a convict who, from the inside and with mafia methods, managed to gnaw away at his company,” forcing him to sell for next to nothing.

That the ‘Ndrangheta was able to thrive was, Dolci emphasized, because “sadly in very few cases the victims denounce its presence in the north.”

Police commander Canio Giuseppe La Gala in Milan, Italy, agreed and called on “citizens to collaborate and help us by informing, so that the anti-mafia in Milan can immediately investigate and destroy the phenomenon.”

When it comes to informing, authorities are already getting plenty of help from members and associates of Italy’s three main organized crime groups – Cosa Nostra, Camorra, and ‘Ndrangheta. At a 2014 hearing of the anti-mafia parliament commission, Italy’s Deputy Interior Minister Filippo Bubbico said that Italy officially had 1,150 informants and 82 witnesses under interior ministry protection at that moment.

But more are needed if organized crime is to eradicated from Italy. Of course, informants are only part of the solution. High unemployment and the economic crisis are also forcing large numbers of desperate businessmen and impoverished youngsters into the arms of organized crime.

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