Major mafia round-up this morning in New York and Italy. Details to follow.
— FBI New York (@NewYorkFBI) February 11, 2014
According to CBS News, which had a reporter on the scene in Italy, a joint effort from Italian police and the FBI resulted in the arrests of dozens of members of the Italian 'Ndrangheta and our own homegrown New York Gambino crime family. The 'Ndrangheta are based in Calabria, in southern Italy, and, though not as well known as the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, have been much more powerful in the past few decades; it's estimated that their criminal efforts (mostly drug trafficking, extortion, and blackmailing) account for more than three percent of Italy's entire national GDP.
The Gambino family is involved apparently as a facilitator, to help the smuggling of cocaine from South America over to Europe, says the FBI:
As alleged, ‘Ndrangheta’s clan members conspired with members of the Gambino organized crime family in New York in an attempt to infiltrate our area with their illegal activities. Under the auspices of legitimate shipping businesses, the two criminal groups worked together to establish a plan of moving cocaine and heroin between the United States and Italy. Little did they know, there was an ongoing collaboration between the FBI and the Italian National Police to investigate and identify their scheme.
Swear to god, the FBI's press release says "little did they know." Also they were smuggling the coke in hollowed-out pineapples and coconuts. God this rules.
For more reading I recommend: this pretty great Der Spiegel piece on the 'Ndrangheta, this book which I haven't read but just bought because it looks real good, and Choire recommends the "Gangland" columns from Jerry Capeci (collected in a book here, sample here). There's this. Also good is Wikipedia. Apologies for possibly killing your productivity this morning.