Crime bosses are being placed behind bars, but a new generation is gaining traction on the streets.
Antonio Orlando, mafia boss and one of most dangerous fugitives in Italy, was captured by police after discovering his luxury hideout near Naples. Orlando is suspected of participating in the Camorra organized crime group. He has spent the last fifteen years on the run, during which time he never stopped giving orders to the rest of the group, according to police.
“The good times are over for the 60-year old mobster,” Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said.
Agents discovered the suspect in a flat in Mugnano with luxury items such as a treadmill, a sauna, and sun shower tanning machine. It was even equipped with a secret hideaway. Orlando, who had been preparing to move to another hideout when the raid occurred, was in the process of destroying fake identity documents and “raised his hands in a sign of surrender.”
The bust uncovered the equivalent of $6,794 in cash along with messages he had been sending to the group, which is well-known for trafficking drugs from Morocco and Spain, as well as money laundering, extortion, and murder. The Orlando family has strong ties by marriage with the Nuvoletta clan. Police were helped by a hitman-turned-informant.
In March, police also arrested Camorra boss Marco Di Lauro, 38, another one of its most wanted criminal fugitives. “Unusual activity” led authorities to his apartment, where he was found “eating pasta and expressed concern for his cats.” Hundreds of officers who were involved in the manhunt arrested Di Lauro at an apartment in the Chiaiano district of the southern city of Naples. Di Lauro did not resist arrest, although he previously escaped a raid in 2004.
Di Lauro was responsible for at least four murders, an informant told authorities in 2010. He is the fourth son of Paolo Di Lauro, who headed the Camorra clan prior to his arrest in 2005.
There is a growing concern by Italian authorities and civilians alike that the Camorra has given way to a new kind of criminal activity carried out by “urban groups of bored adolescents” who “wield knives and carry guns with no rules of engagement or strongly held values.”
The phenomenon was captured by Italian writer Roberto Saviano in his 2016 novel La Paranza Dei Bambini. Saviano said, “Crime [in neighborhoods such as Rione Sanità] becomes the only way to make it, the only way to get money, power, respect. It’s not about being unable to wait for your moment. These guys know their moment will never come [otherwise]…Criminal organizations seem to be the only ones, always, to notice the existence of these children and enlist them.”
The book was made into a film, “The Piranhas,” directed by Claudio Giovannesi. Giovannesi said, “We wanted to tell the story of these lives. Let’s not forget, these are just teenagers.”
Giovanni Melillo, the chief prosecutor in Naples, said, “The clans delegate to them the business of drug dealing and racketeering – a worrying phenomenon but marginal compared to the [traditional] clan operations of infiltrating public administrations and financial markets. But when the paranze go overboard with raids, the [remaining] older bosses intervene in order to keep the peace.”