Lorenzo Tondo at the British newspaper the Guardian offers a piece on the changing face of organized crime in Sicily.
Prosecutors in the Sicilian capital of Palermo are warning that a new alliance between the mafia and Nigerian criminal gangs moving in from Libya could herald a new era of organised crime.
“Even the Sicilian mafia has to deal with the wave of migration from Africa,” said Leonardo Agueci, Palermo’s deputy chief prosecutor. “The neighbourhoods under mafia control have changed profoundly in recent years due to the growing presence of foreigners, especially Nigerians coming on boats. Among them, there [are a small number] of people who want to transfer their illegal trafficking, linked to prostitution and drug dealing, to Sicily. And the mafia was quite happy to integrate them into their criminal business.”
In Ballarò, a mafia stronghold market area in the historic centre of the city, a whistle is traditionally used by drug dealers to attract customers, who are offered hashish, marijuana and cocaine. In the past this signal was only used by Italian dealers working for Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian mafia. About two years ago, when Nigerians adopted the whistle, offering drugs at a discount, it was clear that a new criminal organisation had set foot in the city.
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