Let’s discover some facts about the Spanish mafia.
Facts about the Spanish mafia
The Spanish mafia is one of the most active and widespread criminal organizations in the world, with a presence in over 30 countries.
With more than 100,000 members, it is also one of the largest organized crime networks in the world. The organization has been present in Spain since at least the late 19th century.
The word “mafia” originates from Sicily (or, more specifically, from Naples), where it was first used to refer to a local society or clan that operated under an informal code of conduct.
It originated from Greek and Latin roots meaning “fellow’s trust”. In Spain, criminal groups are referred to as ‘Empresas ilegales’ (illegal enterprises), which means illegal business entities.
This term comes from the Spanish language and not Italian. While there are many different types of mafias worldwide, the Spanish version is similar to those found in other western European countries like Italy or France.
In this article, we will look at some essential facts about Spain’s organized crime networks; their history, hierarchy, operations, and the dangers they pose.
History of Spain’s mafia
The first mention of Spanish mafias dates back to the late 19th century. The first documented case occurred in 1877 when the Spanish Inquisition discovered a Catholic priest named Antonio Gutiérrez employing some men to sabotage a local railroad to steal a safe filled with money.
The priest and his men were arrested, but it was unclear whether the priest himself had stolen any money. The first Spanish mafia groups emerged in the early 20th century after the country was integrated into the Empire of Italy.
The Sicilian mafia’s presence in Spain dates back to the late 19th century when the island was part of the Kingdom of Naples. From Sicily, the Sicilian mafia’s influence spread throughout the Iberian peninsula.
The Spanish mafia hierarchy
Based on interviews and prison testimonies, the hierarchy of Spanish mafia groups follows the Italian mafias: – The boss (capobranco, capodecina or caporeparto):
The top boss is the man who manages the day-to-day operations of the group and acts as its “face” to the rest of the world. The boss is usually an experienced criminal and is the one who coordinates the whole operation from behind the scenes.
– The underboss (secundino or cabeza de chico): The group’s second-in-command leads the activities of lower-ranked individuals in the underworld.He is usually an experienced criminal who will run the group’s day-to-day operations if the boss is arrested or incapacitated.
– The consigliere (counselor or cabeza de nino):The counselor of the group is the person who acts as the middleman between the mafia and any legitimate business that the group may run.He is usually responsible for managing the group’s money transactions.
– The caporegime or capodecina (head of smaller groups; capo or heads of bigger groups):The capo of a smaller group is usually a low-ranked member of the organization who is in charge of managing the group’s daily activities. If a capo leads a larger section of the underworld, he is known as a caporegime.
Why is the Spanish mafia so powerful?
With more than 100,000 members, the Spanish mafia is one of the largest organized crime networks in the world. Its criminal activities span many areas, such as drug trafficking, cyber crimes, human trafficking and extorting business owners.
This makes it very difficult for law enforcement to effectively keep track of the organization. The Spanish mafia is also very well organized and hierarchical, further increasing the difficulty of tracking and stopping its activities.
In addition to its criminal activities, the Spanish mafia is also involved in political corruption. The organization can control many politicians, public officials and business owners, which gives them a lot of influence and power over the Spanish government.
Two main kinds of Spanish mafias
– Traditional: Traditional Italian-based mafias are found in only a few countries, like Spain, Italy and Russia.
These mafias feature a “boss” at the top, who is responsible for all the organization’s criminal activities and a “soldato,” or soldier, who oversees the day-to-day operations.
– Organized crime: Organized crime is a term that describes all modern types of criminal organizations, like the Spanish mafia. They are usually formed by a group united by a criminal purpose.
Criminal activities of the Spanish mafia
– Human trafficking: Although most commonly associated with forced labor, human trafficking can also involve the sexual exploitation of men and women.
It is an extremely lucrative industry for organized crime networks. The Spanish mafia is one of the preferred human trafficking networks for this industry due to its extensive criminal networks and strong power structure.
– Drug trafficking: The Spanish mafia is one of the main drug trafficking networks in the Iberian peninsula.
It smuggles large quantities of cocaine (especially from Latin America), crystal meth, heroin and marijuana from South America using various methods, including air and sea freight, land routes, and cargo trains.
– Extortion: Extortion is a criminal activity in which one person, organization or government threatens another person with harm unless a certain demand is met.
In the Spanish mafia, extortion is often carried out by threatening business owners to destroy their establishments unless they pay off a certain amount of money to the mafia.
Famous members of Spain’s mafia
While there are many famous Spanish mafia bosses and members, here are a few names you should know: – Francisco Vazquez: Vazquez, also known as “el Fio” (the string), was a powerful capo of the Spanish mafia in the 20th century.
He controlled a major part of the commercial and financial life of Barcelona and was even known as the “King of Barcelona.” Vazquez was arrested in 1926 but was released by the Spanish government right before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.
Vazquez was re-arrested when the war was over, this time for good. He finally died in a Spanish prison in 1960 from stomach cancer.
– Miguel Rico: Rico, also known as “le Grand” (the big one), was a capo of the Spanish mafia in the 20th century. He controlled most of the criminal activities in Catalonia, including drug trafficking and international smuggling.
Rico was arrested in the 1950s but escaped from prison in 1981. He was finally killed in Madrid in 1985 by a hitman hired by the Spanish government.
Dangers associated with the Spanish mob presence in Spain
Two main dangers are associated with Spain’s organized crime networks. The first is the danger of being physically attacked by the mafia; Spaniards have repeatedly fallen victim to this attack.
The second one is the danger of being blackmailed by the mafia. Some members of the mafia have established long-term relationships with people they meet while committing criminal activities.
These people usually have access to sensitive information or are in a position to demand illegal payments from someone else. Being blackmailed by a member of Spain’s organized crime networks usually means blackmailing someone with a lot of power.
This makes it difficult for blackmail victims to escape their crimes without getting caught. Fortunately, these two dangers are not too common and can be dealt with by staying safe and avoiding risky situations.
The Spanish mafia is a criminal network active in at least 30 countries with more than 100,000 members worldwide. This article has provided a detailed look at the history, hierarchy, operations and dangers of this widespread organized crime network.