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Robby Grondelle, Crime JournalistCrime Journalist -Robby Grondelle

Rob Grondelle, age 35, married (last year) to Pamela (no, not the famous one) living in Utrecht, The Netherlands,Europe. Work for pay-roll administration at a big transport comp. Intrested in the Mob since 1980. Likes 50 ties music, clothing, cars etc. Almost since the start of Rick and Thom's website, a visitor on a daily basis. Now writing for the European Section. Email paro.grondelle@planet.nl
Mafia + Mafia = Mafia
By Robby Grondelle

Mafia and Mafia = Mafia? Maybe strange, but when this story is done you will know what I mean. We all know that when we talk about the Mafia, we talk about La Cosa Nostra. The name in Italy and the USA is one and the same. I believe the name Cosa Nostra was founded during the summit in Palermo (see my first story), because this was the last time the two Mafias where together. But this is not about names.

La Cosa Nostra is not the only organized crime group who is operating in Italy. There are in fact a few more. Who are they? What are they? Where lies their roots? Well, I think that most of them have roots from La Cosa Nostra. I will explain them one every month from now, starting this month with:


Sacred United Crown is the English name, but I will call it SCU from now on. The SCU was born on Christmas night in 1983, in a jail in Lecce. Sounds like a Christmas story? You're not far off. The man behind it and who was in jail, was Giuseppe Rogoli. The SCU is from the Puglia province on the East coast of Italy. Before this birth of the SCU, Puglia had another crime group called Nuova Camorra Pugliese, which was a tentacle from the Nuova Camorra Organizzata in Naples.(see part two). This one lasted from 1981 till 1982.

The SCU is not alone in Puglia, there is also a group who calls themselves La Rosa, the Rose, who operate out of the town Bari. But La Rosa is a part of SCU. There are 47 clans with 1561 members and have people in the former Yugoslavia, Albania, England, Belgium and Germany.

The pentito, or informer, told a Bari judge, that he was present at a house in Acquaviva delle Fanti, a small centre in Bari, where a strange ceremony was being held of an affiliation to the SCU. The head of the ceremony was Oronzo Romano and soon to be the new member was Giovanni Dalena. After the ceremony, Dalena was called by other members (the person who was baptized a new Christian).

The SCU has adapted some hierarchies and formulas from the Ndrangheta, the crime group from the province Calabria. (see part 4). But what is the most important is the denomination of the Rosary of the Catholic litruary, whose grains are legacies, like the members of the SCU. All grains are connected together on a chain and are therefore one. The crown is that of Christ, so many think the members are devoted to Christ in one way or another.

From 1987, with the blessing of founder Rogoli, La Rosa maintains relationships with La Cosa Nostra clan Findanzati, for the distribution of cocaine in Bari. But they are a part of SCU, so to control them a real SCU clan called Romano, keeps a watchful eye on them. Not Bari, but a place called Salento, remains the epicenter of the SCU.

Recently the police in Bari stopped a few members of the SCU, who were involved in a fight for the control of cigarette contraband. They where part of the Strisciuglio clan, from the Carbonara quarter in Bari. The persons where also accused of the murder of Vincenzo Caruso and of the February 14th massacre of Saint Venlentino, in which 3 men where killed. One of the SCU members was Carl Alberto Baresi, who was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time. The police think that maybe they were on the way for an ambush to kill rival members.


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