Would you like to live inside a hidden bunker in an Italian mansion? A vacancy may open up in one soon! Police in the Italian state of Calbrian had to drag alleged crime-syndicate boss Francesco Maisano out of his during an international bust of 31 suspected mafia goons (or gooni in Italian).
The rest of Maisano's fellow bust victims—alleged members of the Calabrian 'ndrangheta syndicate arrested in Germany and Italy—were, as far as we can tell, not found in hidey-holes. But! Four suspects are still being sought in Canada and Australia, so more mafia bunkers may become available. This bust, by the way, is a sequel to last year's even bigger operation:
Today's raids followed up on a massive police operation in July that put over 300 people behind bars, dealing a serious blow to the group. Cortese, the police official, said the recent arrests stem from wiretapped conversations of a top boss who was arrested in July.
The boss, Giuseppe Commisso, nicknamed "the master," was allegedly heard discussing the 'ndrangheta's involvement abroad during meetings at his dry-cleaning shop.
If it were not part of Italy, Calabria would be a failed state. The 'Ndrangheta organized crime syndicate controls vast portions of its territory and economy, and accounts for at least three percent of Italy's GDP (probably much more) through drug trafficking, extortion and usury. Law enforcement is severely hampered by a lack of both sources and resources. Calabrians have a reputation as a distant, difficult people, and their politicians are widely viewed as ineffective. Much of the region's industry collapsed over a decade ago, leaving environmental and economic ruin. The region comes in last place in nearly every category of national economic assessments. Most of the politicians we met with on a recent visit were fatalistic, of the opinion that there was little that could be done to stop the region's downward economic spiral or the stranglehold of the 'Ndrangheta. A few others disingenuously suggested that organized crime is no longer a problem. Nearly every interlocutor complained that the region lacks a civil society. Amid the doom and gloom, there are a few positive signs, nearly all from young people. This most problematical of Italy's regions will continue to be a drag on the country until the national government devotes the necessary attention and resources to solving these thorny problems.