Investigative documentary. Reporter Mark Franchetti investigates Italy's deadliest mafia, the Camorra, to learn how it's survived for so long in a country at the heart of Europe.
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Hear nothing. See nothing. Say nothing. Those three things will
That is the code of Italy's most violent mafia. The Camorra. And
this is where its grip is strongest. Naples, a city in the heart of
Europe. Its brutality is notorious. It's killed more people than the
IRA. It stands for death, terror, trauma, blood and tears. But as
senior insiders, who have never spoken publicly before tell me, the
power of the Camorra clans is all- pervasive. Take away the word
Naples and leave the word Camorra. It's the city of the Camorra!
organised crime syndicate rakes in billions by poisoning its own
backyard with toxic waste. And the Camorra's polluted Naples politics.
It used to be that the Camorrista would knock on the politician's
door for favours. Today in this city it's the politician who needs
the Camorrista. The Camorra has more blood on its hands than
Sicilly's infamous mafia. What will Four year old Francesco is too
young to know it but his mother Simona di Monte is a prosecutor.
The police fear that her enemies could strike at any time. This is
Naples in 2011. Not Colombia. But Simona lives under 24 hour armed
police protection. Ciao Franci! Ciao.
She needs protecting because she's a top anti-Camorra prosecutor here
and Naples' home-grown Mafia thinks nothing of targeting those who
stand in its way. Protection is granted to prosecutors who are seen
to be at the forefront of fighting against organised crime. I don't
feel in danger but it's not for me to decide. It's part of the rules
of the game. I knew when I accepted this job that I would need
The main reason why I chose to do what I do was to understand
properly why our land is sick with this cancer, the Camorra. It
suffocates this region and makes it Bringing to justice many of Italy's
most notorious gangsters is all in a day's work for Simona. Today
she's prosecuting an extortion case. The Camorra is made up of scores of
competing clans and the man behind the glass is alleged to belong to
one of the most powerful which Simona has helped bring to its
knees. Her star witness is the Carabinieri's Lieutenant Colonel
Fabio Cagnazzo. One of the region's best detectives in the fight
The two clan bosses are now in jail after more than a decade on the run.
This prisoner may soon join them. He's facing up to 26 years in
The Camorra creates slaves. A person's only way out is either to
give evidence against them. Or to The Camorra is interested in
anything that makes money. It has the Midas Touch, able to transform
anything into money. Legal or The Camorra is like a net over this
That net is invisible to outsiders who see only a beautiful city in
the lee of Mount Vesuvius. Set on the Bay of Naples, it's a magnet
for tourists. Neapolitans are renowned for their gregarious
nature and expressive love of life. But there's another side to the
city. If you know where to look. The grim estates of north Naples
where the grip of organised crime is total. With addicts openly
shooting up after buying heroin My name is Mark Franchetti. I was
born in Italy but haven't lived here for 25 years. Growing up in
Italy I became used to hearing Camorra stories. Naples is so
inured to the Camorra that it even has newspapers like this one which
specialise in crime. Every day the Cronache di Napoli reports the
latest shootouts, arrests and courtroom revelations. A daily
reminder of the Camorra's enduring But Neapolitans don't call it the
Camorra. They call it Il Sistema. The System. The System isn't one
organisation with a single Godfather, like Sicily's Cosa
Nostra. It's a series of competing, often warring, criminal clans who
The first time that I heard the word Camorra was when it took my
mother away. Alessandra Clemente had a happy childhood in Naples.
Until the Camorra blighted her life. Her mother was shot dead in 1997,
caught in the crossfire of a Clan shoot-out. You know the horrible
thing is that I remember everything. Really well. Really well. I was
playing a game. I heard some noises, thought maybe a scooter had crashed
in the street. We lived on the ninth floor of our building, high
up. Then I went to the balcony and saw my mum on the floor hurt. I ran
down the stairs, didn't wait for the lift. Then I remember being in
the arms of some nice people who wouldn't let me go into the road
and I let them stop me. My mum was only 39. She was a beautiful woman
with a love of life. I had the first ten years of my life with her
Silvia Ruotolo was killed here in front of Alessandra's little
Does your brother remember anything about it? I've never been able to
find out what he remembers from Alessandra still lives in Naples
with her brother, now 19, and their She is studying law and her
ambition is to become a prosecutor taking on Camorra cases. My mother
tragically died because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The decision I have made to study law helped me understand that there
shouldn't be such a thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong
time. We have a right to live in a better city than this. Why should I
accept the way in which my mother Alessandra's commitment is
impressive, but she's up against This clip from a CCTV camera gave
Neapolitans a rare insight into how the Camorra meets out justice. The
man on the left of the picture has only seconds to live. His assassin
in the baseball cap coolly walks past him into this shop before
committing murder in broad daylight The passers by move away quickly.
Witnesses are hard to come by in a I've come to meet a man who knows
what it's like to use a gun in anger for the Camorra. Salvatore
Striano says he's never killed anyone but admits to pulling the
My gun was indispensable and I couldn't do anything without it.
The first time I held one I knew I had something strong and powerful
in my hands. I felt I could defend my family with it. I felt protected.
Salvatore became a Camorrista when he was still a teenager. He comes
from Naples' Spanish Quarter. One of the oldest Camorra strongholds
in the city centre. As he takes me around he reveals its hidden
sinister side. I was born there. That's my balcony.
That's where my mother would wait for me when I came back from my
dangerous exploits. There's a bullet hole. And there's another
Here, we're entering "the tunnel of the dead". It's called that because
in this street there have been more than ten murders between rival
families. On this street? Yes. Once you go in you don't stand a chance
These men may look as though they are just hanging around one of
Naples' most picturesque streets. In fact, they are lookouts for a
nearby Camorra drug dealer. And if you see scooters parked like this
and no-one's watching them, that's because no-one has to. Nobody would
ever steal them because everyone knows who they belong to. So people
know that they shouldn't steal them? Absolutely they know it. They
The Camorra has been a blight on Naples for more than a century.
Over the decades, local bandits transformed themselves into one of
the world's most feared organized crime networks, making money from
loan sharking, prostitution and But it wasn't until it started
dealing in illegal drugs that it became truly rich. I'm off to the
see the epicentre of the drugs trade. The housing estates of
northern Naples where investigators believe more drugs are sold at
street level than anywhere else in Europe. And the Camorra is behind
Using a camera openly here is out of the question. I could enter
unchallenged only with the help of a local contact. Taking this secret
footage risked swift retribution. The area is home to numerous drug
piazzas as narcotics sales points are known. These are the lookouts
who alert the drug runners at the These are the customers. Although
victims might be a better way of putting it. Shooting up underneath
a half-built flyover. The ground is littered with syringes. Which you
can buy across the counter in the And these are the Camorra dealers.
The expensive wheels are the giveaway. They rule estates like
this where no outsider can venture. I wanted to talk to an insider. For
years this man ran a drug piazza. The former drug dealer has now left
the Camorra but would still talk to us only on condition that his
identity was concealed. How much money can a piazza
generate in a day? Total income? It depends. A small piazza can
generate 30,000 or 40,000 Euros a day. And a big one? Lots of money.
I've heard people talk about drug piazzas making a million and a half
Euros in one week. This dealer is bringing his boss
the morning's takings. According to prosecutors, as much as half a
million Euros' worth of drugs are sold by the camorra in this part of
Naples every day. Most striking is that each piazza works like
clockwork. Day and night. There are 12 people working doing eight-hours
shifts. There are four lookouts on the outside and four lookouts in
the inside. Then there are another two people who frisk anyone coming
in. One person who takes the money and another giving out the
merchandise. Then there is, say, the runner who takes the drugs to
the piazza. You never get to know where the drugs runner gets his
supply from. Even the people who work there don't know. Then there
is the capopiazza, the boss, who manages the day to day running of
Police raids like this one on Camorra drug piazzas are
commonplace. There were two when I The drug dealers put up barriers to
buy time to escape. The police have to call in the fire brigade to cut
It doesn't take long for drugs to be found. These phials are coded in
the colours of the Italian flag. The white ones contain heroin, the
green, crack, and the red ones, The drug dealers are used to raids
like this. And only a few hours later they will be up and running
again. And the people who live here are used to the drug dealing but
they're scared, so there's nothing they can do about it.
The Carabinieri have to settle for three foot soldiers. But raids like
this don't faze the dealers. Who controls this area? Not the state.
So who does control this place, then? The Camorra.
But drugs aren't the only money earner. Just as lucrative is
extortion. The man arriving in this car makes mattresses. Hardly a life
But he needs armed police bodyguards around the clock. Very
few businessmen have shown as much determination to stand up to the
Camorra as Pietro Russo. One day in 2003 the Camorra came calling in
his small town close to Naples. They said that I had to give them
50,000 Euros straight away and then 15,000 every Easter, Christmas and
August summer holiday. The Camorra can be very persuasive.
This is what happened when the owner of a gaming arcade crossed it
so Pietro couldn't just ignore the demands. So I went to the clan and
sat down at the table with the boss. He told me that I had until
Christmas to pay up. What the boss didn't know was that Pietro was
secretly recording the meeting. Then he went to the chief of the
local Carabinieri police. But the response was not what he'd expected.
He said it wasn't a lot of money and I had a factory and a family.
He said the police wouldn't be able to guarantee my safety for more
than five days. So he advised me to Pietro felt he had to start paying.
But he still fought back when the I wanted to make the payments in
here so that I could secretly film the whole transaction. I hid the
camera in a corner of this office, sat down and I counted out loud the
money on this desk. Then he counted it all, put it in his pocket and
left. And where was the camera? hid it over there near the helmet.
But I didn't have to try very hard to hide it because the people they
send to do this job are not the brightest.
The evidence Pietro gathered at great personal risk put 36 members
of one of the Camorra's most infamous clans, the Casalesi,
behind bars. Including local boss Augusto Bianco. At the trial some
gave me the sign of the cross as in as much to say that they wanted me
In Naples, they have a saying. A Camorrista's life leads to either
the sound of the funeral bell Not much of a choice. So why do the
Camorra never seem to run out of In part because so many were born
in places like this. Le Vele. Built as a jewel of urban development,
it's now one of the bleakest places to live in Italy. Here, it's easy
to view crime as the good life especially if you're offered more
money than you've ever dreamt of earning. The former drug dealer did.
How much could you earn a month? 4,000 Euros a day. You mean 400
Euros, one person? Yes. How did you spend the money? Night life. Women,
gambling. It gives you all this. Some people would use drugs. When
you were small how did people view the Camorristi? You could tell them
apart from other people by the way they dressed, their cars and their
motorbikes. They had many more things than ordinary people. Little
wonder the Camorra is romanticised. The music is called neo melodici
and most Camorristi are big fans. This song idolises the life of a
clan member on the run from the Young men who are attracted by that
lifestyle usually end up here. This is Nisida. Naples' juvenile
detention centre. A place where most future Camorra members
eventually do time. Nisida is a place of very special significance
for one young woman. This mural lists the names of every innocent
victim of organised crime in Italy, including the mother of Alessandra
Clemente, Silvia Ruotolo. And one of the men convicted in her killing
served time here while still a teenager. Alessandra comes here
often. I go to Nisida because I want to tell those boys the story
of my mother. I want to give them an extra reason to change their
lives and not become, once they're out, like the boy who killed her.
Alessandra has got to know some of these young men very well. We
aren't allowed to reveal their identities or the crimes they've
committed. But they are keen to explain to us why they think
But most important, crime here runs Today Alessandra has brought
someone special she wants them to Antonio Prestieri is Camorra
Royalty. His father is a convicted murderer, drugs trafficker and clan
boss. But Antonio has kept out of places like Nisida by rejecting his
father's lifestyle from the very start despite his roots. Four out
of five of my primary and secondary school teachers showed me respect
just because of my surname. To them it embodied terror.
Antonio's father is Tommaso Prestieri. He served more than 20
years in jail whilst Antonio grew up in the grim suburb of
This is the district where my father lived, where he still has
his flat. Where? In this building? On the eighth floor. You might say
that this is one of the lairs of the family. In the tourist guides
this area's marked red. You can't come in here. Why? Because it's
dangerous? You bet it's dangerous. How do you explain that your father
chose to bring you into the world here when he could afford to live
in a nicer area in a villa, for instance? I think that they know
that if they go out of their own little world, they wouldn't be
anybody. Antonio's not only rejected his
father's life of crime. He's rejected the proceeds too. For my
18th birthday, out of the blue, he sent one of his men with a very
expensive watch. And this guy told me, "This is the gift from your
father". I sent it back. I let my father know that this is a world
that leads nowhere. If I could, I'd bash some sense into my father. But,
despite everything, I believe there is some good in him, that he cares
This statue of Jesus Christ was commissioned by my father. He's
very religious, which is a real contradiction, but he put up this
statue here and erected others around so that the people in this
building would have a place of peace and quiet they could retreat
Today Antonio Prestieri is making a new life for himself as a talented
playwright and performing musician, determined that his Camorra lineage
But Naples has been scarred by the The Camorra is Italy's bloodiest
mafia. 3,000 people have been killed in the last 30 years mostly
in turf wars. And the killing shows no sign of abating. A few hours
before I visited this area, two men were gunned down in a barber's shop
close to where we were filming. Some of the dead are innocents
caught in the crossfire but most of them are Camorra members from
warring rival clans. My source, the Camorra drug dealer, will never
forget the time his clan went to war. It was very ugly because you
couldn't leave the house for fear of being killed. It wasn't easy.
From one day to the next you wouldn't know who your friends were.
When you went out, did you go armed? Yeah, they'd take us to
waste land. They'd make us ride motorbikes and while one of us was
steering the bike the other would practice standing up and shooting.
Turf wars are so frequent because of the way Naples is divided into
so many Camorra clans. Territories like this throughout the Naples
region are carved up between more than 70 clans. And when Camorristi
clash, they often reach for the gun. We'd come out, five or six of us at
a time, armed. You mean with guns in your hands? You bet. Around here,
you don't have time to take your gun out and load it. So you had
your guns like this? Yeah, you had to keep pointing them at people all
the time. Most of the time you shoot to intimidate people.
Sometimes, even if you didn't mean to get them you did. There were
A feature film, Gomorrah, chronicled the turf wars. The cast
included Salvatore, now living a new life as a professional actor,
Brutality like that is all too familiar for Antonio Prestieri.
This is Monterosa, where all of my family used to live. And at this
bar on the 18th May 1992 they killed my two Uncles. They called
it the Monterosa Massacre. In the wake of these killings,
Antonio's father and surviving uncle were left to run the family
clan. And act as Camorra generals The hours of darkness held
particular perils for Antonio when he feared death just because of his
During the turf wars, when everyone was killing each other, there would
be these nights after rehearsals where I'd walk down the street,
hear the sound of a motorbike and be terrified. And all because I
bore my father's name, which made And I would simply hope that they
would shoot me in the back so I wouldn't have to stare death in the
face. I lived with that fear Italy has not one but three police
This is one of a series of co- ordinated police raids taking place
tonight. This time by the state Tonight, I see with my own eyes
what success for the authorities looks like. Many of the big clan
leaders are in jail for life after being picked up in police raids
like this. But with a constant supply of new recruits ready to
take their place it's a never ending battle. Tonight the Polizia
This man is facing a lengthy sentence on charges of extortion
and being a Camorra member. But the authorities have an even more
powerful weapon against the Camorra. Supergrasses, known here as pentiti.
Camorristi who turn informants as part of a plea bargain. No one
knows better than them where the bodies are buried - literally. This
top Camorrista gave evidence against his own brother - this man,
the father of Antonio Prestieri. father got life for murder. How did
you feel about the fact that your uncle has betrayed and accused his
own brother? It felt very strange, because I would never think of
betraying my own sister, my own blood. But, on the other hand, what
can you expect from people who have Very few members of the Camorra are
prepared to shed light on its secret inner workings, but I'm on
my way to meet a high-ranking Camorra insider. It took weeks of
negotiation to get him to talk and even then he only agreed on
condition that his identity be concealed. He was a racketeer, but
says he's now out of the organisation that locals call il
Sistema. I liked living a life of crime. I still like it.
racketeer joined the Camorra during his first stretch in prison.
make a blood pact. I first cut myself and then so did my sponsor
and then his sponsor. And all the blood flows together. You make this
blood pact on the Bible. You swear on the Bible? Yes. You swear on
being faithful to the boss and the whole organisation. So you have to
keep your mouth shut and if you don't they will shut it for you.
That's the omerta, the code of silence. There are things you can't
even tell your wife or family. From then on you start to specialise.
And what did you specialise in? Extortion. That was my speciality.
At that time the very sound of my name would make people tremble and
pay up. If someone refused to pay, who would decide what to do, was it
you? I was the area boss, so it was up to me. A bit of intimidation,
burn a few cars, destroy part of a factory, but we wouldn't kill
anyone. But there wasn't that much need for it, because everyone paid.
Crossing the Camorra can have dire consequences. When this group of
Camorra thugs came to a bowling alley to intimidate its owner, they
brought a can of petrol. The same methods were used against Pietro
Russo's mattress factory after he'd testified against those who'd
forced him to pay up. I saw the flames from a distance. It was a
ball of fire, there wasn't a centimetre where you didn't see
flames. And you understood straight away that it was the clan?
couldn't be anyone else. The fire in 2008 completely gutted his
factory. Pietro would still not be cowered. He rebuilt it and it's now
producing mattresses again. But it's not quite business as usual.
This is one of the bags which we always used before I reported the
Camorra. But after that, I couldn't use it anymore because our name was
written on it and if we used it we wouldn't be able to sell any more
mattresses. Not round here. So now we use unmarked bags. Just because
people are scared? Because people are scared. Even before the fire,
the Camorra threats against Pietro were so serious that he'd been
given a round-the-clock armed police guard. I've seen a long
queue of people lining up around a courtyard, business people I knew,
all waiting their turn to pay protection money. It was like a
line of people waiting at the post office to pay their bills. When
Pietro refused to join that line, life became very lonely. From the
moment I reported the Carmorra, all my friends started avoiding me.
They were scared even of being in the same car as me. You start
feeling like you're a leper. stress even broke up his marriage.
Do you feel you are paying a very high price for your decision?
freedom. Pietro turned to this anti-racketeering organisation for
help. Alessandra Clemente has recently begun volunteering here.
It's a centre which provides support and legal advice for those
who have been targeted by the Coming here is interesting, I learn
how you can help someone who rrts - reports cases of exor theion. In
this city a place like this is important. People who have found
the courage to again against it need to have that spark kindled. If
you don't have a place like this, that spark will die out. Because it
is a very hard road to go down alone. Over the past few years, the
Camorra hasn't only extorted money from business, it's also gone into
business - making more money with less risk by appearing to go legit.
Camorra Inc is a field in which prosecutor Simona di Monte
specialises. For the Camorra, it's much better to launder money which
comes from drugs and from racketeering by reinvesting it into
the world of business. There are now entire sectors of business that
are controlled by the Camorra. In the area where I work, for instance,
which has a very strong textile industry, the Camorra has gone into
the textile business. In another area which is famous for mozzarella,
the Camorra goes into cheese-making businesses. It damages the free
market, because a Camorra business has no cash flow problems and can
sell at a cut price. And so it completely destroys competition. It
is Camorra Inc. On bread, on wine... Plastic bags, paper bags, meat -
everything. Where there's business there's the Camorra. So if I stay
here in Naples for a month, is it possible not to end up paying money
to the Camorra? It's not possible. The Camorra is into drugs,
racketeering and business. It's also into this, waste. Every few
months the city drowns in it. The locals blame the politicians and
organised crime. At times there are thousand of tons of household
rubbish on Naples' streets - even down by the bay. The crisis is so
bad that the city has been under a state of emergency for the last 17
years. And that's just the way the Camorra likes it. The emergency
status brings public funds and the clans are experts at tapping into
them. The bigger the river of state money, the greater the
opportunities for embezzlement by the Camorra - which investigators
say has muscled in on some of the waste companies. There's an acute
shortage of official landfill in the region, but nobody in Naples
wants rubbish dumped near them: it could be deadly. These
demonstrators are angry about illegal dumping at a local public
tip which is supposed to be used for domestic refuse. Lorries - some
owned by Camorra-front companies - are taking the garbage to the tip
and the protestors' biggest fear is that they're also dumping poisonous
toxic waste. They're killing us with waste and the politicians
aren't protecting us. We're in a really bad way. We're getting ill.
The Camorra isn't just boys going around on the streets with guns.
The Camorra is much more subtle than that. Most Neapolitans agree
but these protesters are determined to do something about it. Later at
the public tip they check every lorry. They don't trust the local
inspector here to keep out illegal Finally, some of the lorries are
turned away. The land of the Naples region, Campagnia, has been fabled
for its fertility since Roman times. For generations, the fields around
here have kept the people of southern Italy nourished. But the
Camorra has raked in billions by illegally dumping toxic waste on
this land. Some farms have had to be abandoned altogether.
Environmental campaigner Raffaele del Giudice agreed to show me the
scale of the devastation. The deadlier the cargo the more
lucrative - much of it transported hundreds of miles from Italy's
industrial North and even from abroad. This is industrial waste -
filters, oil, waste from iron foundries, tyres. I was born here.
This is the land where I used to play. There were farmers here - my
relatives, my grandfather. Then they were chased away and under
here they dumped toxic waste. All of a sudden, some of the farm
labourers who worked in this area started having problems with their
hands, bad throats, blisters. As a result of all the dumped waste,
even mice were dying. This is all in the findings of an official
inquiry. To add insult to injury, acres of land polluted by the
Camorra's poisonous waste has been used by the state to stockpile
mountains of domestic rubbish. It's bundled up and dumped in bales on
top of toxic waste sites. Here they stretch as far as the eye can see -
tens of thousands of waste bales. We're in this area here look, 15
square kilometres, and there are 43 waste dumps here, legal and illegal.
So who controls things here? Here the Camorra's very strong. Naples
lies in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius - an active volcano. This
road was built to quickly evacuate thousands of people the next time
Vesuvius erupts - which sooner or later it will. But work on the
escape route has stopped before it could be finished because the
Camorra dumped tons of toxic waste - including asbestos - in its
foundations. Prosecutor Simona di Monte, who is investigating the
case, took me there. It's expensive to dispose of industrial waste. The
Camorra can do it at a knockdown price because it dumps it illegally
in fields, disused quarries and under roads like this one. On paper,
the waste looks as though it was disposed of but in fact it was only
hidden. In making its billions, the Camorra has destroyed countless
livelihoods - and even lives. I went to see these two farmers on
the outskirts of Naples. When I used to come here with my grandad,
you could drink the ground water. You could scoop it up with a
cauliflower leaf. Now it's all poisoned. Mario Cannavacciuolo and
his son, Allessandro, used to graze sheep on this land. Then something
sinister began to happen. Day after day we noticed more and more of the
animals' heads were deformed and they had growths all over their
bodies. Our animals started dying and when they started dying our
herd was destroyed. And when that happened the authorities sequested
everything. 2,000 sheep were slaughtered by order. The farmers
claim they had been poisoned by illegally-dumped deadly dioxins.
First time round it said that the Dioxin level was 13 parts per
trillion. And what should it be? Three. Then my brother got sick.
And the doctor took blood samples. My brother's sample showed 255
parts per trillion Within 40 days there was nothing we could do. He
was eaten away. What did he die of? He was riddled with cancer. He was
eaten up by it. There is no conclusive evidence to back their
claims, but Italy's national research council has found that
cancer rates in this part of the country are significantly higher
than average. A company produces the toxic waste. It has to dispose
of it somewhere but to do that you need hell of a lot of money. So it
gets in touch with politicians, and the politicians go to the Camorra
who in turn go to people who can dump it on their behalf. It's all
connected. It's all one delinquent organisation. Dumping on this scale
has even stretched the cynicism of the Camorra. There was a summit.
And someone with a tiniest amount of conscience said "Look, we are
poisoning everything around here, even the water". And the boss
answered, "What do we care? We drink mineral water." As you see, I
drink bottled water, not water from the tap. Why? Because they've
poisoned everything here. Well not everything around here is poisoned.
Naples' mains water has not been polluted and look at this Camorra
pizza. All the ingredients here are of the highest quality. They're
Tonight Alessandra Clemente and her family have come out to this anti-
Camorra restaurant for a special feast a few days before her
This restaurant was created in a property once owned by people who
became rich from drug trafficking, murders and racketeering. It sends
the strongest possible message in the fight against the Camorra and
organised crime because you're hitting the Camorra in its pocket.
I simply won't accept that things have to stay as they are and that
we must resign ourselves to them. Naples' Camorra crisis is no longer
just a local issue. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi promised to clamp
down on the Camorra when he was elected three years ago. And to
But three years later the rubbish is still on the streets of Naples.
And the Camorra is still here. Some politicians have been accused of
working with the Camorra - including this man, Nicola
Cosentino. He's the leader of Mr Berlusconi's party in this region
and six months ago they came to He's in court after a supergrass
alleged that he'd enjoyed links to a Camorra company which illegally
disposed of toxic waste but Cosentino vehemently denies the
charges. After the hearing, I found him at the courthouse coffee bar.
Abroad you often hear people say that the Camorra could not exist
without political support. That it could never have survived to many
years without it. I agree, but you need to address this question to
those who have been control in Campania for the last twenty years.
In the last 20 years there has been a centre-left party in power.
You've got to ask them how the Camorra has expanded here. Don't
ask those who have always been in opposition and today have to defend
themselves from accusations. Sure, but if you say the Camorra always
does business with those in power; this would now apply to you since
you're now in power. Well, we have been in power now for six months,
and we are still formulating our plan of action and then we will
address this issue. But I also think that no government has taken
on organised crime like the Berlusconi government. But the
sobering reality is that even clan leaders languishing in jails like
this one can pull the political strings round here. This is Naples'
notorious Poggeriale prison. Almost every Cammorista ends up being
locked up here sooner or later. Prosecutor Simona di Monte has just
been in to interrogate a Camorra suspect. It's essential for the
Camorra to have links with politicians, both at a local and a
national level. The Camorra needs the politicians to look after its
interests when they award public contracts. And of course they're
able to do this because they control their territory and their
communities. Even from prison, the Camorra leaders say who their
preferred candidate is. The Camorra racketeer knows exactly how it can
work when organised crime decides to dabble in politics. Before the
election, the candidate will visit the head of the clan, the local big
'boss', and he'll say, "Listen, you'll have to get me elected." So
if there's a thousand voters, you need to secure five or six hundred
- sometimes with a gift, sometimes you pay their electric bill. Or you
give them some cash. How did you check on the people who've voted?
With mobile phones. They used to take a picture of the ballot paper
and show you outside until it was banned. But you go to the families
who have absolutely nothing and for a hundred Euros they'll give you
their vote. Who does the Camorra do deals with? With whoever is in
power. So the clans wouldn't do deals with the opposition? No.
Because those with no power have nothing. Of course most politicians
here do not have links to organised crime. The Camorra relies on the
corrupt ones. But in this troubled city it also often gets support
from a surprising quarter - the public themselves. Not least
because the Camorra is perceived as being far more efficient than the
state. The Camorra does not put itself into open conflict with the
state. It's more like a woodworm It takes the place of the state and
it's all the more credible because it's able to offer the same
services as the state in direct competition. In the Camorra
stronghold of Le Vele, take this football pitch, for instance.
According to residents here it's not courtesy of the local authority,
it's a gift from a clan boss. field for instance, the law,
everyone knows that you can get "justice" from the Camorra. State
justice is slow and its outcome is uncertain. Camorra justice is
immediate, you can't appeal against it. And it's very certain. If a
drug addict goes and robs someone, the Camorra takes that person and
makes them give back the money and the goods they've stolen. So even
the police have to work less. if the Camorra's hold is so far-
reaching, can Naples ever be free of it? One man who cut himself
loose is the former Camorrista who became an actor. Every Camorrista
has a bag full of arms, four or five guns, his rifle and machine
gun. I gave them my arms as a present and then they finally
understood that I had abandoned their world and I didn't want
anything to do with it any more. Today is graduation day for
She needs the top mark of 110 to give her a really good chance of
Her father, brother and grandparents have all come to share
this emotional moment. Also there to offer his good wishes is the man
from the other side of the tracks but with very similar ideals,
It's the most significant moment of my life and I'm with the people who
mean the most to me. I dedicate it to my Mum. As an Italian I find it
shaming that the Camorra should still have such a grip in a
European democracy. But its roots are so deep-seated that, like many
here, I struggle to imagine Naples without it. Few people can -
whichever side of the law they stand on. Take away the word Naples
and leave the word Camorra. It's the city of the Camorra! It's
difficult if not impossible to imagine Naples without the Camorra.
But without the Camorra, Naples would be the most beautiful city.
But if Naples is to stand any chance of ridding itself of the
Camorra, IT desperately needs young idealists like Alessandra and
Antonio. One day I can see my city without crime. I can see it free
and see how beautiful it is. Because this is one of the most
The Camorra, the Naples mafia, is Italy's bloodiest organised crime syndicate. It has killed thousands and despite suffering many setbacks is as strong as ever. It is into drug trafficking, racketeering, business, politics, toxic waste and even the garbage disposal industry. Naples's recent waste crisis was in part blamed on the crime syndicate. Its grip on the city is far reaching.
Talking to Camorra insiders who have never spoken to the media before, and drawing on interviews with Camorra victims who are fighting back, reporter Mark Franchetti investigates Italy's deadliest mafia to learn how it has survived so long in a country at the heart of Europe and what it will take to defeat it.