Italy's new anti-Mafia high commissioner has shocked Parliament by telling it organized crime gangs hold "total" control over some regions of southern Italy.
Domenico Sica, 56, made the statement in his first major report to Parliament's anti-Mafia commission since the government appointed him Aug. 10 to head a new drive against the Sicilian Mafia and equivalent criminal gangs in Calabria and the Naples region of Campania."The situation is really serious," Sica said. "In some of these regions the possession of the territory on the part of criminal organizations is total."
Sica delivered his report against a continuing epidemic of hundreds of killings by Mafia or equivalent organized crime gangs in Sicily, Calabria and the Naples region.
So far this year, police records show 243 organized crime killings in Sicily, 201 in Calabria and at least 73 in Naples and its surrounding area.
Nearly all of these slayings are part of wars raging between rival crime gangs for control of the multibillion-dollar traffic in heroin and cocaine and other Mafia rackets such as extortion and graft over building contracts.
The black-bearded Sica, who made his reputation as an investigating magistrate in the long struggle against political terrorism, left no doubt he meant precisely what he said about the extent of organized crime's infiltration in Sicily.
"If anybody thinks this assessment is too negative, then he must also believe that the suffocating apparatus of escorts, armor plating and other protection the state provides (for judges and other officials) is completely unjustified," he said.
Sica's reference was to Mafia-investigating magistrates in the Sicilian capital of Palermo, who move around the city only in armored limousines escorted by police in armored vehicles.
In an ironic reversal of usual calls for the state to infiltrate organized crime gangs, Sica said in the areas controlled by the gangs, "it is now the state which must, in every way and with all possible energy, try to succeed in infiltrating these territories."
Sica told the parliamentary commission Nov. 15 that the spate of gang executions should not be considered "a challomplex structure like the Mafia does not even consider running the useless risk of carrying out actions simply to provoke the authorities," he said.
Sica said the near-daily killings were part of "an infernal settling-down" of the crime organizatjons after the blows dealt to them by mass trials in Sicily and Naples in recent years.
He said the angs have succeeded in forming "an absolutely impermeable system" for directing their recent huge profits from shipping heroin, cocaine and other drugs to the United States and European countries, including Italy.
He said the crime profits "have reached an enormous total. It is a business of incalculable proportions.
"We are in the presence of a unified crime center which manages enormous capital sums," Sica said. "And they are not just content with these illicit profits, but seek to create new riches through apparently clean investments.
"The only concrete reply the state can make is to have the widest possible system of investigation, with constant in-depth reference above all to international organizations."
In the three months since he was appointed anti-Mafia highcommissioner with special powers voted by Parlhament, he said, he has concentrated chiefly on gathering information on the drug traffic and how the organized crime gangs launder their profits.