Senior anti-mafia officials and researchers have told CNN that Mafia clans are already taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic, especially in southern Italy.
They are providing everyday necessities in poor neighborhoods, offering credit to businesses on the verge of bankruptcy and planning to siphon off a chunk of the billions of euros being lined up in stimulus funds.
The most powerful branch of the Mafia — the ‘Ndrangheta, based in Calabria — is thought to control 80% of the European cocaine market. Even as the pandemic made distribution more difficult, it took advantage of the lockdown.
Journalist Roberto Saviano — author of “Gomorrah: Italy’s other Mafia,” an expose of the Camorra mafia in Naples — told CNN that “the traffickers took advantage of the [lack of] oversight of law enforcement in the ports, in the airports.”