ROME — Italian police say they have obtained video for the first time of a secret swearing-in ritual for the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate.
Investigators didn’t reveal how they were able to secretly film the recruiting ceremony near a farmhouse in northern Italy. Their probe cracked down on mobsters’ extorting businesses in the northern Lombardy region and across the border in Switzerland and led to 40 arrests.
Milan Prosecutor Ilda Boccassini told reporters Tuesday the video shows how “the force of tradition” helps the ‘Ndrangheta, a global cocaine trafficking organization, to thrive.
Prosecutors said a 17-year-old boy was among those sworn in. The syndicate, rooted in the southern Calabrian region, spread north as it invested its illicit revenues in legitimate businesses.
The oath reminds recruits that traitors will be expected to kill themselves.
Earlier this year, CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey reported that a major joint operation by Italian police and FBI agents in Italy broke up a trafficking route that connected the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate with the U.S. Sicilian Mafia. Raids were also carried out in the U.S. and Canada.
Pizzey reported that the Italian raids were code-named “New Bridge,” and involved nearly 150 police officers swooping in on as many as 20 locations in the suburbs and villages around Goia Tauro, which is one of the largest shipping ports in Europe.