Coronavirus: How the Italian and US mafia are being hammered by the virus | World | News

Closures of borders and businesses are making it harder for the smuggling of people, drugs, firearms and tobacco. At the same time the closure of small businesses and sporting events have decimated protection rackets and illegal gambling. So far, shipping routes have not been badly affected but moving drugs across land borders in Europe has become much harder.

The Sicilian mafia and the Calabria-based Ndrangheta smuggle drugs on cargo vessels but with lockdowns across Europe and police monitoring people’s movements, it has become harder to get them picked up at the other end, said the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

Anna Sergi, a criminologist at the University of Essex, said: “Certain types of drugs are still on the move.

“The problem is, who is going to pick them up?”

In some places Mafia elders are enforcing local lockdowns, as they are in the most vulnerable age group.

But those lockdowns are also exposing Mafia safe houses due to increased police vigilance.

Meanwhile, New York’s five Mafia crime families are said to be suffering the biggest “hit” in their bloody histories.

Illegal gambling has been wiped out, small firms paying “protection” money are now shuttered and work on all construction sites – a source of huge income for the Mob – has been halted.

A New York City Police Department spokesman confirmed the impact of the virus on organised crime but added: “We remain ever vigilant and alert.”

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