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Italian police release footage of mafia initiation ritual, 40 arrested

"If anyone asks you where you're from, you must answer: 'My father is the sun, my mother is the moon,'" mob boss tells new recruit.

By
Matt Bradwell

LOMBARDY , Italy, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Forty people in northern Italy have been arrested after police recorded footage allegedly showing members of the 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate participating in an initiation ritual.

Police say the ceremony, known as the Santa, or holy, bestowal, has never been caught on film.

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"In this holy night, in the silence of the night and under the starlight and the shining moon I create the holy chain. With humble words I create the holy society," an apparent mafia elder says to mark the start of the ceremony.

"If anyone asks you where you're from, you must answer: 'My father is the sun, my mother is the moon.'"

At one point the new recruit is told to remember he has two options if coerced to betray the syndicate, a cyanide pill and a gun.

The 40 people arrested are being held on suspicion of belonging to the mafia, extortion and possession of unlicensed firearms. According to the police one of the new initiates arrested was only 17-years-old.

Although the arrests occurred in Como and Lecco in northern Italy, the 'Ndrangheta are based out of Calabria, on the southern tip of the Italian peninsula. BBC described the crime family as "one of the most powerful and secretive criminal organisations in the world."

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