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Mafia

A criminal organization prevalent mostly in Southern Italy, with particularly strong roots in Sicily, where it is called Cosa Nostra. The Mafia is usually a hierarchical operation led by a “boss,” who runs its operations in a defined territory. Mafia activities typically center around the drug trade, extortion, arms trafficking and toxic waste disposal. Famous Sicilian writer Leonardo Sciascia described the Mafia as, “A criminal association dedicated to the illegal enrichment of its members, who insert themselves by means of violence between businesses and workers, production and consumption, the citizen and the State.” The Mafia bears responsibility for the murders of many Italian politicians, magistrates and police officials. Among them are judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino and Carabinieri general Carlo Alberto dalla Chiesa. The bloodiest phase of the conflict between the Mafia and the Italian state ended with the arrest of Mafia boss Salvatore Riina on January 15, 1993.

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