The 'Ndrangheta or Calabrian Mafia has emerged as the world's most powerful crime group due to its obscene profits from the cocaine trade in Europe, and it further has become entrenched in Australia, Canada and the United States with surprisingly little push back from law enforcement in those countries.
Indeed, Nicola Gratteri, a top anti-Mafia prosecutor in Italy warns that "this mafia is quickly spreading in the United States, particularly in Florida and New York" as reported by Beatrice Borromeo for The Daily Beast:
Gratteri's latest operations have led to the sentencing of 34 'Ndrangheta members and have uncovered a new route in the mafia's international drug trade, centered in New York City, where the crime syndicates can secure easy access to cocaine shipped in by Mexican cartels. Gratteri relies on the support of local intelligence for his operations, and he's been able to make more international arrests of 'Ndrangheta members than any other Italian prosecutor in large part because he's gained the trust of colleagues overseas. "Gratteri is a great investigator; it's a pleasure to work with him and nobody knows the 'Ndrangheta better than he does," says an FBI special agent who works in New York. "The 'Ndrangheta has become one of our top priorities in recent months, and we need to be able to rely on people like Gratteri to face it."
Some mob watchers believe that Ndrangheta or Calabrian Mafia clans from New York City and Quebec are responsible for the ongoing mob war against the Rizzuto clan from the Sicilian Mafia in Montreal, QB Canada for control over the drug trade.
The Rizzuto clan allegedly is headed by Vito Rizzuto who currently is incarcerated at the supermax facility in Florence, CO on a 2007 racketeering conviction involving the 1981 New York City murders of three Bonanno capos during an internal power struggle. While serving his time Vito's son Nick Jr. got whacked in 2009 and his father Nicolo in 2010. The Rizzuto clan allegedly pushed back last November by murdering former Bonanno boss Salvatore Montagna who some suspect had aligned with the 'Ndrangheta clans in the power play for Montreal.
Gratteri says the war on drugs generally and the war on the 'Ndrangheta specifically is unwinnable:
"I am simply being realistic," Gratteri says. "No matter how many investigations we carry on in the world, we recover less than 10 percent of the cocaine that arrives in Europe. 'Ndrangheta members are so many: strong, clever, determined people. Secrecy is their motto and, moreover, they don't have a godfather that leads on everyone, which means that no arrest can really threaten the existence of the organization. Eradicating the 'Ndrangheta? Impossible."
Of course, it's going to be hard for U.S. law enforcement to land even a blow against the Calabrian Mafia unless the country first gets over its terrorism hysteria and once again dedicates resources to the real threat from organized crime.