A two-year investigation using wire taps and hidden cameras has caught for the first time the swearing-in oath spoken by new mafia members.
Italian police arrested 40 suspected gangsters with links to the feared Calabrian ‘Ndragheta, including boss Giuseppe Larosa, known as “Peppe the Cow”, and a 17-year-old boy.
The recordings revealed members being sworn into an ‘Ndragheta secret society known as La Santa, allegedly created so bosses could break with mafia tradition and safely connect with state officials.
Controversially, according to a 2003 book Mafia Brotherhoods: Organized Crime, Italian Style by Letizia Paoli, being a member of Santa also allowed bosses to join the Freemasonry to expand their network.
“For the first time we heard it from the voice of the mafia,” instead of relying on details from police informants, Milan prosecutor Ilda Boccassini told journalists at a press conference.
One boss was heard telling new members the “oath of poison” they were about to take meant they were now expected to be their own executioners.
“From now on it will not be other men who judge you, you will judge yourselves,” he says.
“Either you poison yourselves or you take this (gun) which shoots. There must always be a bullet reserved; one for you.”
Notebooks found in the raids further described the secret rites in which new members swore allegiance “in the silence of the night and under the light of the stars and splendour of the moon” to “safeguard my wise brothers”.
Read more about the mafia swearing-in ceremony at The Local.
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