‘Godmothers’ Increasingly Powerful in Italian Mafia Families


October 30, 2016

Source: breitbart.com

There has been a steady increase in the number of women in power positions among the different branches of the Italian Mafia, with some as brutal and calculating as the men they are replacing, according to recent reports.

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In the Camorra, for instance, the Naples-based Mafia clan, prosecutors estimate that the number of active women is 10 times higher than it was in the 1980s or ‘90s, and many more women are winding up arrested or killed.

Analysts suggest that the reason behind female Mafiose rising to power has nothing to do with feminist empowerment and everything to do with demographics. Women are taking over when their male family members are sent to jail or killed.

“There is a growing number of women who hold executive roles in the Camorra,” said General Gaetano Maruccia, commander of the Carabinieri paramilitary police in the Naples area. “They are either widows of mob bosses or wives of husbands who have been put in prison. They hold the reins.”

Mothers, daughters, sisters and sisters-in-law are “assuming ever-more leading roles,” according to Stefania Castaldi, a Naples-based prosecutor who investigates organized crime.

But for whatever the motives, the transition has been real and relentless.

“In Naples, we say, ‘The bosses gave their balls to their wives,’” says Cristina Pinto, a reformed Camorra boss who served 23 years of jail time for her crimes.

“Now the power is in the hands of the women mobsters. These women are worse than men. They order murders just like that, not even thinking about the consequences. They are violent and irrational. Money and power make them crazy,” she said.

This phenomenon is not limited to Naples. Women bosses or “godmothers” can now be found in every branch of the Italian Mafia: the Camorra in Naples, the Cosa Nostra in Sicily. the ‘Ndrangheta in Calabria, and the Sacra Corona Unita in Apulia.

According to the Italian Ministry of Justice, more than 150 Mafia women are now locked up in Italian prisons, and nearly all of them had leadership roles in one of the Mafia branches.

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In Sicily, for instance, having women in positions of power in Cosa Nostra is now an accepted reality, something that wasn’t the case just a few decades ago. According to one Palermo prosecutor, Francesca Mazzocco, there are around 20 Cosa Nostra families active in the main cities and towns of Sicily, a third of which are either led by women or have women among their most powerful members.

“If the husband was very strong, then the woman gets more respect,” Ms. Mazzocco said.

One of the groundbreakers was Giuseppa (Giusy) Vitale, the first woman considered the real head of a Sicilian crime family, or in local jargon, one of the “bosses in skirts and high heels.”

“Giusy is a woman who sacrificed her femininity to almost become a man, shaped by her brothers in their image and likeness, ruthless and cruel, ready to order a murder with the click of her fingers,” says Alessandra Ziniti, a journalist in Palermo with the Italian daily La Repubblica.

To avoid prison, Vitale later became a pentita, collaborating with law enforcement, and reportedly now lives under a witness protection program in a secret location.

Another Sicilian godmother, Teresa Marino, allegedly took over for her husband, Tommaso Lo Presti, when the latter was sent to prison for his Mafia activities in Palermo.

“The role she assumed as head of the clan shows that times have changed – these days there is equality of the sexes, even within Cosa Nostra,” said Leonardo Agueci, a Palermo prosecutor.

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ABP World Group Ltd. in High Demand by Major Media Outlets for Expert Commentary in Cases of International Parental Abduction and Organized Crime.


Oslo / Los Angeles, February 15, 2016

ABP World Group Ltd. is a global security and child-recovery firm that is often sought out by the media to provide expert commentary on international parental abduction cases.  -Recently, the firm experienced a surge in requests from major media outlets seeking commentary on several cases that have made headline news.

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Photo: Private. A story about one of ABP World Group`s successful operations in the Norwegian magazine Vi Menn.

A recent story where ABP was quoted, involved three Norwegian nationals held in custody after attempting to abduct a four-year old for the non-custodial father. As reported on by In Cyprus, Martin Waage, Managing Director of ABP was quoted as follows: “To assist parents who do not hold sole custody…makes the industry look bad.” He went on to say that APB never engages in this practice as a reputable recovery outfit.  Waage’s comments were also featured in a story about the case that appeared on VG News, Norway.  Waage was interviewed by NRK, a Norwegian broadcasting company as well.

ABP World Group, Ltd. was also an instrumental resource for the press in other cases such as one where a Brazilian mother abducted her child from Sweden and another where a Norwegian mercenary was hired by the father to illegally abduct his child.

Martin-Waage1

Martin Waage, Director of ABP World Group™

Waage was also interviewed for several Norwegian Television documentaries about the mafia in Spain, international parental child abduction and organized crime. In the past, Al Jazeera, Spain’s El Mundo, the United States’ ABC News, Italian news stations, Irish radio stations and Swedish television stations have also called upon Waage for commentary in a number of cases.

ABP World Group Ltd. has a strong success rate on cases where a child has been illegally, internationally abducted by a parent. For more information, email: contact@abpworld.com

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A Spanish investigation into the Russian mafia ‘could change the narrative of Putin in the West’


January 30, 2015

Source: Bloomberg

One of Russia’s largest organized-crime syndicates allegedly operated out of Spain for more than a decade with the help of close allies of President Vladimir Putin, then the deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, Bloomberg reports.

Vladimir Putin

Prosecutors in Madrid have filed a 488-page petition to charge 27 people with money laundering and fraud in connection to the St. Petersburg-based Tambov crime syndicate’s setting up shop in Spain in 1996.

Vladislav Reznik, now the deputy head of the finance committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament and a member of the Putin-aligned United Russia Party, faces charges accusing him of giving allies of the criminal organization’s alleged leader, Gennady Petrov, positions in the Russian government in exchange for a share of the organization’s assets.

“The criminal organization headed by Petrov managed to achieve a clear penetration of the state structures in [Russia], not only with the lawmaker Reznik but with several ministers,” the Spanish prosecutors said.

Reznik denies the accusations, insisting his relationship with Petrov is “purely social.”

Petrov is unlikely to face a trial — he fled to Russia when his villa on the Spanish island of Majorca was raided by the police in 2008, and Russia does not extradite its citizens.

Gennady-Petrov

US officials briefed by Spanish prosecutor Jose Grinda in 2010 concluded that Putin ran a “virtual mafia” state that extended to Spain, where criminal networks have been established to do things the Kremlin cannot.

The Russian president’s connection to Spain dates back to the 1990s, when he allegedly took no fewer than 37 secret boat rides to meet with several well-known Russian mafia leaders living in southern Spain — all while he was the head of the FSB (the successor to the KGB).

Putin reportedly entered Spain illegally, bypassing Spanish passport control by entering through Gibraltar, according to the book “Putin’s Kleptocracy” by Karen Dawisha.

“This Petrov probe could change the narrative of Putin in the West — from being a Stalinist tyrant defending the interests of his country to being a product of gangster Petersburg who united authorities with organized crime,” Stanislav Belkovsky, a Kremlin adviser during Putin’s first term who consults at Moscow’s Institute for National Strategy, told Bloomberg.

The network of Russian authorities with alleged ties to Petrov is vast: from former prime minister and current chairman of Gazprom Viktor Zubkov and former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, his son-in-law, to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and longtime communications minister/Kremlin adviser Leonid Reiman.

Russian law-enforcement official Nikolai Aulov — deputy to Viktor Ivanov, who runs the Federal Narcotics Service — was also one of Petrov’s “most important” contacts in Moscow, according to the criminal complaint.

Check out the full report at Bloomberg >

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Paris security guards turned ‘blind eye’ as ‘Queen of Thieves’ gang robbed tourists, court hears


September 4, 2015

Source: The Telegraph by Henry Samuel

Gang of 16 pickpockets including “Queen of Thieves” and Versailles Palace guard on trial for “selfie robberies” at top tourist sites including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.

louvre-museum-paris

A Romanian known as the “queen of thieves” and 15 others conducted a spate of robberies at top Parisian landmarks while at least one security guard “turned a blind eye”, a Paris court heard on Thursday.

Masquerading as smart young tourists taking selfies, the gang netted hundreds of thousands of euros by fleecing unsuspecting foreigners, including Britons, at sites including the Eiffel Tower, the Orsay and Louvre museums, and the Palace of Versailles.

Detectives suspected the gang had accomplices inside the different landmarks, but only one is standing trial – a security guard at Versailles. The guard admitted accepting a €10,000 (£7,300) bribe to look the other way – even warning the gang of the whereabouts of his most “efficient” colleagues – but said he only agreed to help after receiving death threats.

Thibaut Cotta, lawyer for one of the accused, said other alleged accomplices believed their employers would not take action in order to protect the sites’ tourist-friendly “image”.

Thefts were so prevalent that in April 2013 staff at the Louvre went on strike, saying they would return to work when police sent reinforcements.

queen of thieves Paris

Wearing Bermuda shorts and cameras, the gang worked in groups of three, with one stealing, another causing distractions and a third keeping a look out.

If they were caught, the thieves screamed, started fighting or even took their clothes off in the galleries to put off tourists while they made their escape.

40 tourist scams to avoid
The rising problem of pickpockets in Paris

At the height of their operation, the Louvre registered some 138 thefts for the month of August 2012, with €138,000 (£100,000) reported stolen.

The charges largely relate to thefts in 2013, but police said the gang wired around €700,000 (£510,000) to Romania between 2005 and 2013.

Investigators said they believed the gang was well-organised.

Two women were among the alleged masterminds: Mariana Gandac, 25, alias Cinca, and Sandra Baciu, 35, dubbed “the Queen of Thieves”.

Eiffel Tower shut in protest at pickpocket explosion

The pair are accused of coordinating around a dozen accomplices, mainly at the Louvre and at Versailles. During one secretly recorded conversation, Ms Baciu confessed to “hating public holidays” as it brought more Parisians to the museums – who were of little interest to the gang.

Among the accused are a couple who say they met while stealing from the same handbag in 1994 in Rome. Police said the couple’s standard of living was well above their official means, with several properties registered under their names in Romania.

The Facebook page of another defendant shows films in which her baby plays with allegedly stolen €500 notes.

This is the second trial in four months after eight Romanian pickpockets using the same techniques were sentenced in May.

The trial is expected to finish on September 11.

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Brazil to Install Border Security Cameras


June 1, 2013

Source: Insightcrime.org

Brazil will install video surveillance cameras along the 17,000 kilometer border it shares with 10 other countries, as part of a national public security strategy aimed at combating organized crime along the frontier.

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Brazil’s National Public Security Secretariat will provide $13.9 million (29.5 million Brazilian reales) to 60 municipalities in 11 states that border other countries, for the purchase and installation of at least 624 security cameras, Folha reported. Funds will also be used for the transmission systems, video surveillance reception, and the training of system operators. Muncipal, state and federal authorities will work together to review the images

The cameras will be particularly heavily clustered along the border with Paraguay, in the Mato Grosso do Sul, Parana, and Santa Catarina departments, according to Folha’s map.

InSight Crime Analysis

Installing security cameras is part of a wider initiative focusing on Brazil’s border security. Since the implementation of the “Strategic Border Plan” in August 2011, Brazil has reportedly broken up 65 criminal organizations operating along the frontier. Brazil has also signed cooperation agreements with a number of countries, most recently Bolivia, in an attempt to help further secure its borders.

Rio-amazonas

As Latin America’s largest market for cocaine and a transhipment point for drugs going to Europe, border security is a major issue for Brazil. Bolivian and Peruvian cocaine is shipped from Bolivia or through Paraguay, along routes controlled by Brazilian gangs. Human trafficking is also a major problem, leading the government to recently invest in ten new control posts in border towns.

It is worth questioning whether the increased camera surveillance will significantly impact border crime, and whether the cost will be worth the investment. The US has had mixed results with its own expensive border strategy, which emphasized the use of technology. Geographical factors may make surveillance particularly difficult in some regions of Brazil, such as the Amazon. Moreover, evidence from the US has suggested that increased border security in certain zones simply shifts illegal crossings into different areas.

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Kidnappings in Mexico: 11 kidnapped in daylight from Mexico City bar


May 31, 2013

Source: nbcnews

MEXICO CITY — Eleven young people were brazenly kidnapped in broad daylight from a bar in Mexico City’s Zona Rosa, a normally calm district of offices, restaurants, drinking spots and dance clubs, anguished relatives said Thursday.

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The apparent mass abduction purportedly happened sometime between 10 a.m. and noon on Sunday just off the Paseo de la Reforma, the city’s main boulevard, near the Angel of Independence monument and less than two blocks from the U.S. Embassy.

The incident was the second recent high-publicity blemish for the city’s largely unregulated entertainment scene, coming 20 days after the grandson of American civil rights activist Malcolm X was beaten to death at another tough bar in the downtown area.

Calling for authorities to find their loved ones, family members marched Thursday morning from the Interior Department building to the Zocalo, the city’s main square. Later they protested outside the bar, which bears a sign that reads Bicentenario Restaurante-Bar, and demanded to see the bar’s surveillance video.

“How could so many people have disappeared, just like that, in broad daylight?” asked Josefina Garcia, mother of Said Sanchez Garcia, 19, her only son. “The police say they don’t have them, so what, the earth just opened up and swallowed them?”

Kidnappings-Mexico_City

She said her son wasn’t involved in any criminal activity, and worked at a market stall selling beauty products.

City prosecutors said they had received 11 missing-person reports, but Garcia said residents of the tough downtown neighborhood of Tepito where the victims live thought as many as 15 or 16 people could have been abducted.

The known missing include six men, most in their 20s, a 16-year-old boy and four young women.

While no clear motives had been revealed in the attack, residents of Tepito said there has been a wave of abductions of neighborhood young people in recent months that could be related to organized crime activities. Tepito is the center of black market activities in the city, where guns, drugs, stolen goods and contraband are widely sold.

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Mass abductions have been rare in Mexico City, but are common in parts of the country where drug cartels operate and are fighting with rival gangs over territory.

Prosecutors slapped closure stickers on the front doors of the Mexico City bar Thursday, with inscriptions saying the city’s anti-kidnapping unit was investigating abductions at the site.

Late Thursday night, dozens of members of a special police intervention unit, many carrying automatic weapons and wearing helmets and bulletproof vests, blocked off the street in front of the bar and searched inside. Officers would not comment on what they were looking for.

Isabel Fonseca, whose brother is among those missing, said a man who escaped told her that masked men arrived in several white SUVs and took the group away. She said her brother, Eulogio Fonseca, is a street vendor who sells cellphone accessories.

“We want them alive,” Fonseca said. “They went out to have fun; they are not criminals.”

Mexico City’s chief prosecutor, Rodolfo Rios, said investigators had been able to glean little information on the disappearances.

Relatives believe the youths were at the club, which they know as “Heaven,” around midmorning Sunday, when waiters and bar employees herded them out to the street and armed men bundled them into waiting vehicles and spirited them away.

Rios said police had not located any employees of the bar and no other witnesses had presented themselves.

Note:

For the CAC course (Conduct after Capture) contact ABP World Group. The objective of this course is to better prepare civilians for a kidnap/hostage situation and improve their chances of getting home alive.

 

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Tiger Kidnapping and family hostage situations


April 6 2013

Tiger Kidnapping is an extremely stressful crime whereby criminals abduct a member of staff’s family (often a child) and threaten them with harm unless the employee attends their work place, removes a large sum of money then delivers it into the hands of the criminal.

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It’s called ‘Tiger Kidnapping’ because of the way the criminals stalk their victims for some considerable amount of time before the kidnap attack and robbery takes place.

Tiger Kipnapping occurs frequently in Europe

here has also been an increase in Tiger Kidnap offences in England, Scotland and Wales, with some high profile cases attracting media attention because of the scale of loss.

To fully understand the methods and impact on the victims, it’s worth looking at these cases as reported in the media:-

BBC: The Securitas raid followed a classic tiger kidnapping. So what can be done about it?

Mum and her Four-year-old Son Kidnapped for Ransom Demand

Father and son held captive in 11-hour tiger kidnap ordeal by armed gang in cash van heist

The tiger kidnapping  

Preventing Tiger Kidnap

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Three areas you may choose to cover off to prevent Tiger Kidnapping are:-

Physical Security – Use of Drop Safes means that no one person has access to to the cash at any one time. Use time locks on the outer safe. Ensure good CCTV covers cash holding areas, and this is monitored for signs of unusual activity.

Adequate Processes and Procedures – Make it impossible for one single person on their own to access cash (dual key doors etc). Strictly enforce access and key controls, and ensure segregation of duties. E.g Store Keyholders don’t have access to the safe. Severely restrict the number of employees who can access cash areas. Have cash operation confidentiality policies backed by disciplinary action.

Situational Awareness – Potentially vulnerable staff and managers are made aware of Tiger Kidnapping, how to spot the likely surveillance which precedes it, and action to take if they see suspicious activity.

The above is intended as a very basic guide. For far more detailed advice and research see the resources below.

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What to do if you are kidnapped -Kidnapping and Hostage Survival Guidelines


The chances of your being kidnapped or taken hostage are small. If it does happen, your chances of survival are high.

Kidnapping is a terrifying experience, but you probably possess more personal resources than you think to cope with the situation. Remember, you are of value to those who are holding you only if you are alive, and they want to keep you that way. Your best defense is passive cooperation. The more time passes, the better your chances of being released alive.

Note: 

For the CAC course (Conduct after Capture) contact ABP World Group. The objective of this course is to better prepare civilians for a kidnap/hostage situation and improve their chances of getting home alive.

kidnap_Negotiation_Hostage_Rescue

Kidnapping can happen anywhere –

you can be taken off the street, from a car, or from your hotel room or residence. The best opportunity for escape is in the beginning, during the confusion of the apprehension while you are still in a public place. If escape is impossible or too risky, you should nevertheless try to cause as much commotion as safely possible to draw attention to the situation. You need to make others aware that an abduction has taken place so that the authorities are notified and the search can begin. Otherwise, it could be hours or days before your absence is reported.

Once you have been forced into a vehicle, you may be blindfolded, beaten (to cause unconsciousness), drugged, or forced to lie face down on the floor of the vehicle. In some instances, hostages have been forced into trunks or specially built compartments for transporting contraband. If drugs are administered, do not resist. Their purpose will be to sedate you and make you more manageable. It is probably better to be drugged than to be beaten unconscious. If you are conscious, follow your captors’ instructions.

While being confined and transported, do not struggle. Calm yourself mentally and concentrate on surviving. Attempt to visualize the route being taken, make a mental note of turns, street noise, smells, etc. Try to keep track of the amount of time spent between points. You will be asked questions about this after your release in an effort to determine where you were held.


Once you have arrived at your destination, you may be placed in a temporary holding area before being moved again to a more permanent detention site. If you are interrogated:

  • Retain a sense of pride but act cooperative.
  • Divulge only information that cannot be used against you. Make every effort to avoid embarrassing the U.S. and the host government.
  • Do not antagonize your interrogator with obstinate behavior.
  • Concentrate on surviving. If you are to be used as a bargaining tool or to obtain ransom, you will be kept alive.

After reaching what you may presume to be your permanent detention site (you may be moved several more times), quickly settle into the situation.

  • Be observant. Notice the details of the room, the sounds of activity in the building and determine the layout of the building by studying what is visible to you. Listen for sounds through walls, windows or out in the streets, and try to distinguish between smells. Note the number, names, physical description, accents, habits , and rank structure of your captors. Try to memorize this information so that you can report it after your release.
  • Know your captors. Memorize their schedule, look for patterns of behavior to be used to your advantage, and identify weaknesses or vulnerabilities. Use this information to assess opportunities to escape.
  • Expect to be accused of being an intelligence agent and to be interrogated intensively. Do not admit to any accusations. Keep your answers short and don’t volunteer information or make unnecessary overtures.
  • Try to establish a rapport with your captors. Family is a universal subject. So are sports and many hobbies. Your goal should be to get the hostage takers to view you as a real person, rather than simply an object. Listen actively to the terrorists’ feelings and concerns, but never praise, participate in, or debate their “cause.” If you know your captors’ language, use it. Ask them to teach you their language.
  • Speak normally. Don’t complain. Avoid being belligerent and comply with all orders and instructions. Once a level of rapport or communication is achieved, try asking for items that will increase your personal comfort. Don’t be afraid to ask for anything you need or want such as medicines, books, or papers. Make requests in a reasonable, low-key manner.
  • Plan on a lengthy stay and devise a way to keep track of the passage of time. If isolated, you can approximate time by noting changes in temperature between night and day, the frequency and intensity of outside noises (traffic, birds), and by observing the alertness of guards.
  • Establish a daily schedule of mental as well as physical exercise. If your movement is extremely limited, use isometric and flexing exercises to keep your muscles toned. To maintain your strength, eat what you are given even if it does not look appetizing and you don’t feel hungry. Use relaxation techniques to reduce stress.
  • If you detect the presence of other hostages in the same building, try to devise ways to communicate.

During interrogation, do not be uncooperative, antagonistic, or hostile towards your captors. Captives who display this type of behavior are often held longer or become the object of torture or punishment. Take a simple, tenable position and stick to it. Be polite and keep your temper. Give short answers. Talk freely about nonessential matters, but be guarded when conversations turn to matters of substance. Don’t be lulled by a friendly approach. Remember, one terrorist may play “Good Guy” and one “Bad Guy.” This is the most common interrogation technique.

Watch for signs of “Stockholm Syndrome” which occurs when the captive, due to the close proximity and the constant pressures involved, begins to relate to, and empathize with, the captors. In some cases, this relationship has resulted in the hostage becoming sympathetic to the point that he/she actively participates in the activities of the group. Establish a friendly rapport with your captors, but maintain your personal dignity and do not compromise your integrity.

If forced to present terrorist demands to authorities, either in writing or on tape, state clearly that the demands are from your captors. Avoid making a plea on your own behalf.

Be patient, as hostage negotiations are often difficult and time consuming. Remember, your chances of survival increase with time. Most episodes of kidnapping or hostage-taking end with no loss of life or physical injury to the captive.  Eventually you will probably be released or rescued. Do not try to escape unless you are certain of success. If you are able to escape, go first to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to seek protection. If you cannot reach either, go to a host government or friendly government office.

If an attempt is made to rescue you, keep a low profile and immediately follow all instructions. Rescue will generally be attempted only after negotiations have failed. That means that lives of hostages, terrorists, and rescue forces are all at risk during the rescue. You don’t want to be shot in the confusion while the rescue team identifies the terrorists, who may try to disguise themselves as hostages. To protect yourself, follow these rules:

  • DO NOT RUN. Drop to the floor and remain still. If that is not possible, cross your arms on your chest, bow your head, and stand still. Make no sudden moves that a tense rescuer may interpret as hostile.
  • Wait for instructions and obey all instructions you are given.
  • Don’t be upset if a rescuer isn’t sure whether you are a terrorist or hostage. Even if you are handcuffed and searched, do not resist. Just wait for the confusion to clear.

Note:

For the CAC course (Conduct after Capture) contact ABP World Group. The objective of this course is to better prepare civilians for a kidnap/hostage situation and improve their chances of getting home alive.

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