Italy Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from Italy’s black market. Intelligence data and security information collected from government agencies, news articles and other public information sources.

On an average day in 2012, security agents in France seized $400,600 (€300,000) in cash that was being smuggled in order to avoid taxes. The amount seized in France in 2012 ws 50 percent higher than the amount of cash seized daily in 2011. In the first 3 months of 2013, customs agents in France seized $137 Million (€103 Million) in cash.

In Italy, $165 Million in bulk cash was seized at the country’s five main airports in 2012.  In the first nine months of 2013, the security services of Italy were close to passing that figure for the year.

Between January and November 2013, security agents in Spain seized $23 Million (€17.5) Million in cash.

Criminal justice departments across the European Union state that the rise in cash smuggling seizures stems from the crackdown on tax evasion activities. As countries such as Switzerland open up bank accounts to tax investigations, more people are attempting to move their assets by old-fashion means of transporting cash.

According to EU law, a traveler is allowed to carry up to €10,000 in cash.

(More bulk cash smuggling statistics and money laundering cases.)

Source:  Doreen Carvajal and Raphael Minder, “European Borders Tested as Money Is Moved to Shield Wealth,” New York Times, November 3, 2013.

In towns surrounding the city of Naples in Italy, the cancer rate has increased by nearly 50 percent in the past two decades. Health care agencies and security services are attributing the rise in tumors to illegal toxic waste dumping activities conducted by the Mafia.

The Italian mafia won contracts to dispose of toxic waste, yet simply dumped the materials in illegal, unauthorized sites. According to released documents, millions of tons of nuclear waste from Germany was dumped on farms, lakes and caves near Naples.

The toxic materials infected the surrounding environment, causing cancer rates in increase. In the last two decades, the cancer rates for men in the region increased by 47 percent and increased 40 percent for women.

(Additional impact of organized crime today.)

Source:  David Harding, “Mafia’s dumping of toxic waste blamed for high cancer rates in Italy,” New York Daily News, November 3, 2013.

A report by the Italian farming lobby states that the mafia in Italy controls $19.2 Billion worth of farming activity in the country. The value of farming for the Mafia increased by 12 percent from 2011.

Nearly 25 percent of all Mafia properties seized by police was farmland, according to the report.

15 percent of all farming activity in Italy was linked in some way to organized crime.

The Mafia is also involved in stealing farm animals and farm equipment and resells them on the black market.

(What is racketeering? What is extortion? See examples here.)

Source:  Tom Kington, “Italy: Mafia escapes to the country,” Scotsman, October 29, 2013.


Between 1992 and 2010, there have been a total of 3,374 killings committed by the four main mafia syndicates in Italy. The groups are Cosa Nostra, ‘Ndragheta, Camorra, and the Sacra Corona Unita (United Holy Crown, or SCU).

The table below listing the number of killings from 2000 to 2010.

Year Cosa Nostra ‘Ndrangheta Camorra SCU Total
2000 17 45 86 26 174
2001 31 39 68 25 163
2002 18 30 54 23 125
2003 13 33 77 37 160
2004 17 45 122 19 203
2005 18 42 72 7 139
2006 14 23 77 8 122
2007 12 16 85 4 117
2008 12 22 59 9 102
2009 19 11 49 7 86
2010 10 24 18  15 67

Source:  Small Arms Survey, “Small Arms Survey 2013: Everyday Dangers,” Chapter 4: Guns in the Family; Mafia Violence in Italy, page 83.

(More information about mafia killings and organized crime.)

According to information released by the European Union in 2013, there were 2,400 victims of human trafficking identified in Italy in 2010. The number of victims found in the country represented 25 percent of all trafficking victims found in the EU.

According to security officials with the United Nations, many of the victims are from Nigeria and Eastern Europe. One case involving a woman from Nigeria had her family agreeing to pay $81,100 to smugglers to bring the woman into Europe. The woman then worked as a prostitute in order to pay off the smugglers.

(Prices of human traffickers and their victims here.)

Source:  Naomi O’Leary, “Violent gangs smuggle thousands into Italy: U.N. expert,” Reuters, September 20, 2013.

Between July 1 and August 10, 2013, nearly 9,000 migrants were smuggled into Italy by boat, according to Italy’s Interior Ministry. In the August 2012 to August 2013 time span, over 24,000 migrants entered Italy by boat.

Security officials stated that in most years migrants are originally from sub-Sahara Africa and enter Italy to look for work across the EU. However, in 2012-2013, many of the migrants who were smuggled to Italy by boat were Syrians fleeing the civil war in Syria.

(Costs to be smuggled into a foreign country.)

Source:  Steve Scherer, “Italy seizes ‘mother ship’ smuggling Syrian refugees,” Reuters, September 12, 2013.

Between 2002 to 2012, an estimated $1.04 Trillion (807 Billion Euros) was flagged in audits by financial regulators as potential money laundering activity in Italy.

During that time frame, police in Italy recovered $91 Billion (70 Billion Euros) from illicit money laundering cases, according to the Economy Ministry.

Source:  “Italy’s Tax Evasion Amounts To Hundreds Of Billions,” Bernama, July 11, 2013.

Italian mafia organization ‘Ndrangheta is believed to control up to 80 percent of Europe’s cocaine imports.

Source:  Tristan Dessert, “In the footsteps of the ‘Ndrangheta, the most powerful branch of Italian mafia,” Franc 24, May17, 2013.

Italian oil company Eni reported in March 2013 that it was suspending operations in Southern Nigeria due to rampant oil theft and sabotage.

The company was producing up between 35,000 and 40,000 barrels of oil per day in its oil fields in Bayelsa. Bunkering activities were causing losses of up to 60 percent of the oil production.

Source:  AFP, “Italy’s ENI curbs activities in Nigeria due to oil theft,” Google News, March 23, 2013.

The following is the estimated revenue of Mafia syndicates in Italy based upon data from the Interior Ministry and other crime statistics.

Camorra: $5 Billion (€3.75 Billion)

‘Ndrangheta: $4.6 Billion (€3.5 Billion)

Cosa Nostra: $2.5 (€1.9 Billion)

In terms of size and market reach, the Camorra and ‘Ndrangheta together account for 70 percent of all racketeering by organized crime groups in the country.

Source:  “Italy wants cross border action to tackle the mafia,” euronews, February 15, 2013.