By Hollander (nickname)
Posted: August 15, 2008
A prosecutor described him as "The new face of the Calabrian mafia which deals with politicians and high finance". Their goal is to infiltrate legal financial circles in order to invest illegally gained funds with a aim of dominating price wars and creating monopolies.
Pasquale "Il Supremo" Condello, born in Reggio Calabria on September 24 1950, is the most respected boss of the 'Ndrangheta. At the age of 24 he was one of the shooters in the high profile killing of mafia boss Antonio "uncle Tony" Macri from Siderno. "They both had their faces covered", said one eyewitness "Before they left, one of them who saw he was still breathing got out of the car and put two more bursts of submachine-gunfire into his chest and head". Macri, a close friend of Corleone boss Michele Navarra, was one of the six capobastone (bosses) who organized the mafia in Calabria and overseas. With Frank Costello (Francesco Castiglia) and Albert Anastasia (Umberto Anastasio) he paved the way for fellow Calabrians in the American and Canadian mafia. The murder in 1975 unleashed a bloody gang war that cost some 300 lives.
At the end of the conflict Paolo "don Paolino" De Stefano was the undisputed boss of the city of Reggio Calabria. Condello was aligned with De Stefano, the boss was the best man at his wedding. In the 1970s the crime family and others began to infiltrate the lodges of the freemasonry and they started running their affairs and political connections. After some relative peaceful years the second gang war broke out between the crime families in the city. The battle was triggered by the marriage between a Condello sister and Antonio "Nino" Imerti, the mafia boss of Villa San Giovanni (near Reggio). At the time Condello was De Stefano's underboss, but the boss had become fearful of the Condello/Imerti alliance that could challenge his powerbase. The conflict exploded in 1985, two years after the marriage, when a car bomb failed to kill Nino Imerti. By that time Condello had seen enough and ordered the hit, the old boss Don Paolino was showered with bullets on October 10 1985. The mafia war between Condello/Imerti and the gangsters still loyal to DeStefano, among them the powerful Tegano family, left 600 people dead. Practically all the crime families in the city grouped into one of the two opposing factions.
"Il Supremo" was a major player in both wars. During the battle of Reggio Condello was arrested, but disappeared after he was freed on bail. Since then he collected four life sentences for murder, mafia association, extortion, money laundering and drug related offences. The charges included the brutal murder of Lodovico Ligato, a former head of the Italian state railways, in 1987. In order to make peace the bosses, with the help of the Canadian mafia, created a federation of families in 1991. The bosses of Reggio, Piana di Gioia Tauro and Locride held regulary meetings to manage certain activities and problems.
On February 18 2008 "Il Supremo" was captured in an apartment in the district of Pellaro, on the outskirts of Reggio Calabria. The operation by the Hunters (the Carabinieri's specialist man trackers) involved over 100 policemen. After a two week stake-out, they opted to mount 12 seperate simultaneous operations.
The team that bursted into Condello's comfortable apartment immediately realised they had the right man. "I'm the real Pasquale Condello," the man said. The elegantly dressed mafia boss remained cool and told them "I have nothing to do with your investigations, with gang wars nor with the charges for which you have issued nine arrest warrants against me". Arrested along with Condello were his son-in-law Giovanni Barilla and two other family members, they also found a slew of 'pizzini' in the apartment. Investigators said that Condello had remained in Reggio Calabria throughout his time on the run and from there ran his gang's operations in drug smuggling, extortion and racketeering not only in Calabria, but also in Rome and other Italian cities. The fact that although Condello was on the most wanted list for 18 years, he was hiding in Calabria shows what impunity the 'Ndrangheta feels. There is a secret network which allows mafiosi to keep running their business as usual.