Locale ('Ndrangheta)

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A locale (translated as "local" or "place"), is the main local organizational unit of the 'Ndrangheta with jurisdiction over criminal activities in an entire town or an area in a large urban center.[1][2]

A locale is usually made up by one 'ndrina (in the case of a small town) or several 'ndrine, if more than one 'ndrina operates in the same town. In the case of larger cities a local may rule over a certain area or neighbourhood of the city.[2] In some contexts a 'ndrina is more powerful than the locale on which they formally depend.[1]

Each locale has a boss with authority over members' life and death, a capo locale, usually the capobastone of a 'ndrina.[2] It has at least 49 members and besides the capo locale, there is the contabile (accountant) who handles the finances - commonly called la bacinella or la valigetta (briefcase) - and a crimine that oversees the illegal activity. All three form a triumvirate called the Copiata.[3] A locale is often subdivided into two divisions: the società minore (the "minor" or lower society) and the società maggiore ("major" or higher society). The minor is submissive to the major.[2][4]

The locale of San Luca has a historical preeminence. Every new group or locale must obtain its authorization to operate and every group belonging to the 'Ndrangheta "still has to deposit a small percentage of illicit proceeds to the principale of San Luca in recognition of the latter's primordial supremacy."[1]


  1. ^ a b c Paoli, Mafia Brotherhoods, pp. 29-30
  2. ^ a b c d Nicaso & Danesi, Made Men, p. 23
  3. ^ (in Italian) Il Crimine, i mastri, le 'ndrine; ecco la Cupola modello Cosa nostra, La Repubblica, July 14, 2010
  4. ^ Paoli, Mafia Brotherhoods, pp. 47-48
  • (in Italian) Gratteri, Nicola & Antonio Nicaso (2006). Fratelli di sangue, Cosenza: Pellegrini Editore, ISBN 88-8101-373-8
  • Nicaso, Antonio & Marcel Danesi (2013). Made Men: Mafia Culture and the Power of Symbols, Rituals, and Myth, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, ISBN 978-1-4422-2227-4
  • Paoli, Letizia (2003). Mafia Brotherhoods: Organized Crime, Italian Style, New York: Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-515724-9 (Review by Klaus Von Lampe) (Review by Alexandra V. Orlova)
  • Varese, Federico. How Mafias Migrate: The Case of the 'Ndrangheta in Northern Italy, Discussion Papers in Economic and Social History, Number 59, University of Oxford, July 2005