Tuesday, September 1, 2009

In Italy, Godmothers taking over from Godfathers

The Italian-American Mafia continues to dominate organized crime. Anti-Mafia police in Italy say women in the underworld crime scene are rising in rank as Godmothers in a break from its male-dominant past. Godmothers are gradually replacing Godfathers as mob leaders in the Camorra, a crime organization that controls Naples, much like the Mafia in Sicily. Camorra has been the target of police crackdowns recently. "There is a growing number of women who hold executive roles [in the Camorra]," Gaetano Maruccia, commander of the Carabinieri paramilitary police in the Naples area told The Associated Press. The paramilitary police say these women are filling in places left vacant by the leaders, who are often their husbands. Anti-Mafia raids have seen a large number of Mafia bosses arrested. It is believed that these women are as deadly as their spouses and take part in all kinds of activities ranging from blackmail to murder, according to a BBC correspondent in Italy. Eleven women were arrested in a drug bust by police last month, but officers say it is impossible to guess how many women are involved in the organized crime rings as they often take on roles such as preparing and packaging cocaine and heroine. Detained Maria Licciardi is one the most powerful female Mafia leaders in Naples. Police believe she is still controlling the crime cell from behind bars.