Before Christmas, police in Italy arrested dozens of suspected members of the Naples Mafia, Camorra. The arrests confirmed what many in Italy already knew: the mafia’s criminal activities do not begin a solemn break.
According to prosecutors, the suspects arrested on December 10-13 in Naples and Caserte to collect the so-called. Christmas pizza from merchants – money paid to avoid a broken window, a mysterious fire, or a bomb under their car.
During the holiday season, mafia bosses often increase their business, commission commissions, plan new year strategies, and even kill.
Last Christmas, Marcello Bruzzese (51), the brother of a former mafia member who became a supergrass, was fatally shot by two hooded men, who were killed by the executive mafia clan of Calabria, Ndranghety. According to police, hooded murderers waited near the victim’s apartment in the historic center of Pesaro, in the Italian region of Le Marche, and fired at least 20 rounds.
The list of men killed for Christmas by the Mafia is long and full of symbolism. It is common for the murder of a police officer, an enemy, or someone else hated by the organization to serve as a ghostly Christmas present.
Giuseppe Montalto, a prison police agent at the Ucciardone prison in Palermo, who held top mafia bosses over the years, killed a mafia murderer on December 23, 1995, when he got into his car while his wife and daughter were looking at the investigation. the murder of Montalto was intended as a Christmas present for bosses locked up in Ucciardone under the Italian rule of “hard prison”, a kind of solitary confinement.
A few months ago, Montalto intercepted a message the boss had written on a piece of paper to be delivered to another gangster. He immediately turned it to his superiors. The former mafioso, Francesco Milazzo, confessed to the judges that the mafia ordered this killing “to give a Christmas present to friends who were in prison.”
The Christmas season can also be an opportunity to make peace with other clans and settle disputes between mafia members.
Last November, Catania district prosecutors published specific investigation files in which another mafioso-reversed supergrass Francesco Squillaci revealed that when it was discovered that the brutal war between the clan of Santapaola and Ercolano had begun after the unintentional murder of competing bosses. – for Christmas 2007 – a cell meeting was held in Bicocca Prison where they shared their Christmas meal. On this occasion, the gangsters ended the bloody dispute that plagued the Sicilian city.
“It is not uncommon for mafios who are tied to tradition as they are to spend Christmas with their fellow Mafia brothers,” according to former Mafia prosecutor Sergio Lari, who for more than 10 years was Chairman of Palermo’s Mafia Directorate, “The Most Powerful Godfathers of Palermo they did it every year. They agree to meet at the boss’s house to exchange holiday greetings and plan new-year crime strategies. ‘ “
In 1991, during a Christmas dinner, the head of the Sicilian mafia, Totò Riina, after picking up a glass of champagne with his fellow mafia, decided to be one of the saddest bosses in Mafia history and decided that it was time to declare war “mafia enemies.”
“At this point, the mafia was planning an assassination of legendary judges against the mafia Giovanni Falcon and Paolo Borsellino,” Lari said.
There is another reason why Christmas is so “special” for mafiosos: cash. People spend more money on Christmas for gifts, decorations and dinners, and the mafia always waits to take the opportunity. Mafia applications for protection money, known as pizzas, are becoming more urgent during the holidays.
“Paying pizza for Christmas has become a standard crime in Palermo,” said Salvo Caradonna, a lawyer for AddioPizzo (“Goodbye Wallet”). Addiopizzo associates traders who have committed to refuse to pay money for protection. “Many business owners earn more money for Christmas, and Cosa Nostra, which starts in late November, usually visits store owners to remind them that Christmas is around the corner and will soon have to“ set up ”their payments correctly. That is why Addiopizzo starts several campaigns in December to sensitize shop owners to rebel. “
But the mafia’s Christmas stories are not always happy for gangsters. During the Christmas evening in 2015, carabiner officers invaded the house of Palermo’s boss, Mariana Marchese. Gangster wore Santa’s suit and gave gifts to his grandchildren. In his suit he was able to avoid the back door. He was arrested for several months in March 2016 and died in prison a few weeks later.