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"The Untold Stories: The 10 Most Famous International Mafias"

Updated: Mar 31

The world of organized crime spans across continents, with various international mafias exerting influence over criminal enterprises and, in some cases, legitimate businesses and politics. Here's an overview of 10 of the most famous international mafias, known for their extensive operations, historical roots, and sometimes notorious leaders.

### 1. Sicilian Mafia (Cosa Nostra)

Origin: Italy

Founded: Mid-19th century

The Sicilian Mafia, or Cosa Nostra, is perhaps the most iconic of all mafias, with a strict code of conduct and a hierarchical structure. Known for its involvement in illegal activities such as drug trafficking, extortion, and money laundering, Cosa Nostra has also infiltrated various sectors of the Italian economy.

### 2. 'Ndrangheta

Origin: Italy

Founded: Late 19th century

Based in Calabria, the 'Ndrangheta is renowned for its secretive nature and deep involvement in global cocaine trafficking. Its family-based structure has made it difficult for law enforcement to penetrate, contributing to its rise as one of the most powerful and wealthiest criminal organizations in the world.

### 3. Russian Mafia (Bratva)

Origin: Russia

Founded: Late 20th century

Post-Soviet Russia saw the rise of the Bratva, a term encompassing various organized crime groups. Known for their involvement in a wide range of criminal activities, from arms trafficking to cybercrime, the Russian Mafia has established a significant presence worldwide.

### 4. Yakuza

Origin: Japan

Founded: 17th century

The Yakuza is known for its strict codes of honor and complex hierarchical structure. Engaged in activities ranging from gambling to real estate and construction, the Yakuza has also been involved in more nefarious activities, including human trafficking and drug smuggling.

### 5. Triads

Origin: China

Founded: 18th century

The Triads are a collection of Chinese criminal organizations known for their involvement in drug trafficking, extortion, and counterfeiting. With origins tracing back to resistance movements against the Qing dynasty, modern Triads operate both in China and internationally.

### 6. Albanian Mafia

Origin: Albania

Founded: Late 20th century

The Albanian Mafia is known for its role in human trafficking, drug trafficking, and arms smuggling. With a presence in various European countries, this group is noted for its ruthlessness and loyalty among members.

### 7. Sinaloa Cartel

Origin: Mexico

Founded: Late 20th century

One of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in the world, the Sinaloa Cartel is involved in the production, smuggling, and distribution of narcotics across the Americas and beyond. Its operations have contributed to the ongoing drug war in Mexico.

### 8. Los Zetas

Origin: Mexico

Founded: Early 21st century

Originally formed by defectors from Mexican special forces, Los Zetas is known for its extreme violence. Engaged in drug trafficking, human trafficking, and extortion, Los Zetas has been a formidable force in the Mexican drug war.

### 9. Camorra

Origin: Italy

Founded: 17th century

Based in Naples, the Camorra operates in various criminal activities, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and murder. Known for its clan-based structure, the Camorra has a significant impact on the local economy and politics.

### 10. Balkan Mafia

Origin: Balkans

Founded: Late 20th century

The term "Balkan Mafia" refers to various criminal organizations operating in the Balkans, involved in drug trafficking, arms smuggling, and human trafficking. These groups have capitalized on the region's tumultuous history to establish a presence in European criminal networks.

### Conclusion

These organizations, while only a snapshot of global organized crime, illustrate the vast reach and varied nature of mafia activity worldwide. Their impact on society is profound, affecting everything from local economies to global politics. The fight against these groups remains a significant challenge for law enforcement and governments around the world, requiring international cooperation and comprehensive strategies to tackle their influence and operations.

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