Italian Cops Decipher Mafia Code on Initiation Rite
You'll need 5 people to do it right
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2014 5:31 PM CST
Police check the area where a bomb went off in southern Italy in this 2010 file photo. It damaged the home of a judge who investigates the 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate.   (AP Photo/Adriana Sapone)

(Newser) – "For the baptism, five people are needed—no more and no less," reads the coded instructions. But this "baptism" isn't the usual sort: It's for new members of the 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate in Italy, reports the Telegraph. Police discovered the instructions during a murder investigation, and two officers who like to solve puzzles got busy deciphering the text, which resembles ancient Egyptian and Greek. The big break came when they figured out the letter C, and the rest fell into place.

It's oh-so-dramatic stuff: The initiation must take place in a "sacred, sacrosanct, and secure" location, and the newbie must cut his skin with a knife in order to swear a blood oath—"an eternal allegiance to the honored society.” The BBC reports that the 'Ndrangheta is thought to be the most powerful mafia in Italy, with a specialty in cocaine smuggling. "Finding such a document shows that even if they are projected towards big businesses and are a criminal group with a global presence, they still use archaic systems," says a police official in Rome. (The syndicate apparently isn't a fan of the new pope.)

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Italian Cops Decipher Mafia Code on Initiation Rite is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 8 comments
Jan 11, 2014 9:01 PM CST
You'll need 5 people to do it right? There IS no right way to do it...
Jan 11, 2014 7:14 PM CST
dear dumbazz world let the mafia system alone and learn from it! it works well and is far better than what we have in the white house now!
Jan 11, 2014 5:17 AM CST
just in case someone wants a bit more of fancy 'ndrangheta goodness, here an excerpt from the initiation rite. i am digging in memory for this. The celebrant asks the adept: «how many ways exist?» the adept answers: «the left way and the right way» c.: - and which one did you choose ? a.: - the right one. c.: - and why ? a.: - because that's the one my wise masters chose before. c.: . and what lies in the left way ? a.: - only shame, pigs [police] and disgrace. and so on...