Naples crime war: life imitates art imitating life

Bernardino Terracciano, the Naples man who played himself in the award-winning film Gomorra about the Neapolitan mob is among seven men arrested Oct. 12 on organized crime charges. Terracciano—the burly, menacing local boss “Zi’ Bernardino” (Uncle Bernardino) in Matteo Garrone’s film—is accused of extortion and criminal association, police said. Gomorra, which uses local people from Naples’ dangerous suburbs as well as actors, won second place at the Cannes Film Festival this year and is Italy’s entry for best foreign-language film at the forthcoming Oscars. It is based on an expose of the Camorra by the Naples based writer Roberto Saviano, who is under police protection.

Terracciano was arrested in the latest raid in the Caserta area on the Casalesi clan of the Camorra, the Neapolitan mafia, which is blamed for an attack at Castel Volturno, in which six African immigrants were gunned down last month. The presumed head of the Casalesi clan in Caserta, Giuseppe Setola, remains on the run. (London Times, Oct. 12)

In an unprecedented crackdown, Italian police Sept. 30 arrested more than 100 suspected Camorra members, confiscated gang property valued at more than €100 million, and charged three they said were top leaders of the crime network with involvement in the Castel Volturno killings.

In the Sept. 18 massacre, the gunmen struck twice—once at a games arcade, killing an Italian, and then at an African-run boutique and tailor shop, where six immigrants from Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso were shot dead. Police claimed that the immigrants were petty drug dealers who had been punished for failing to pay pizzo, or protection money, to the Casalesi. It has since been questioned whether those killed had any involvement in the drug trade. (The Independent, Oct. 1)

See our last posts on Italy and the Naples crime war.