Citation(s) from the literature library

Massari, Monica. 2013 ‘Mafiosi - Gun Trafficking.’ Small Arms Survey 2013: Everyday Dangers; Chapter 4, p. 93. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press and the Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. 2 July

Relevant contents

Mafiosi - Gun Trafficking

[I]n Italy, no comprehensive investigation of the illegal firearms trade has successfully shed light in a systematic way on the characteristics of this market, its actors, routes, or trafficking methods, even though large numbers of weapons have been readily available to major mafia groups since the late 1970s (Sagramoso, 2001, p. 22).(57)

Based on information released in official reports and the few available studies, as well as data provided by interviewees, Italian criminal organizations appear to be active as traffickers, buyers, and intermediaries in the international illegal firearms trade. Since the end of the conflicts of the 1990s, large illegal stockpiles have remained beyond the control of authorities, leaving the Western Balkans, as well as the Russian Federation and Eastern European countries, as key sources of firearms trafficked into the European Union (Europol, 2011, p. 38).

The geographical proximity of Italy to the former Yugoslavia and Albania has allowed domestic criminal groups to buy weapons at relatively low prices (Sagramoso, 2001, p. 21). Of the networks based in Italy, Europol finds that the 'Ndrangheta and the Albanian criminal groups are most involved in the illegal arms trade (Europol, 2011, p. 38).(58)


57) Most of the prosecutors interviewed for this study stressed this point. It should also be mentioned that during the early 1980s Judge Carlo Palermo attempted to carry out a major investigation on drugs and arms trafficking between Turkey and Italy, via Austria and Yugoslavia; most of those accused were acquitted (Palermo, 1988; Cecchetti, 1988).

58) According to the research institute Eurispes, profits made by the 'Ndrangheta from illegal arms trafficking in 2007 amounted to EUR 2,938 million (USD 3,900 million). Although this data is quoted in several reports, no information is available on the methodology or sources used to produce this figure (Eurispes, 2008b, p. 3). The crucial role played by the 'Ndrangheta in supplying sophisticated weapons to other organized crime groups has been confirmed by Cosa Nostra turncoat Gaspare Spatuzza, who provided information on a stockpile of weapons, including a surface-to-air missile, bought by his clan in order to kill anti-mafia judge Giancarlo Caselli, who, for security reasons, was often transported by helicopter while he was chief prosecutor for the DDA in Palermo (Viviano and Ziniti, 2009).

Europol. 2011. OCTA 2011: EU Organised Crime Threat Assessment. The Hague: European Police Office.

Sagramoso, Domitilla. 2001. The Proliferation of Illegal Small Arms and Light Weapons in and around the European Union: Instability, Organized Crime and Terrorist Groups. London: Centre for Defence Studies, King's College, University of London, and Saferworld.

ID: Q8481

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