‘Ndrangheta boss takes out hit on his son, Nicola Bonaventura

An ‘Ndrangheta boss from Calabria, Italy has taken out a hit on his own son after he turned state witness in a mafia trial. Salvatore Bonaventura had groomed Nicola for the ‘Ndrangheta’s from early childhood.

Nicola Bonaventura worked as an assassin, a cocaine smuggler and a gunrunner under his father before his wife convinced him to quit the organization that nowadays controls most of Europe’s cocaine shipments.

“My father was violent and cruel to teach me the ‘Ndranghetista ways. I grew up learning to kill or be killed. You don’t have a childhood. To be born into a mafia family is to be destined to become a mafioso.”

Luigi Bonaventura

The Maxi Trial

The ‘Ndrangheta Maxi Trial involves more than 300 suspects and is the largest ever in the history of the Italian justice system. Among those accused are members of the ‘Ndrangheta, a powerful branch of the Mafia. The son of the mafia boss, who is now under police protection, decided to turn state witness because he was afraid for his life.

“The family that manages to kill one of their own to protect the ‘Ndrangheta is seen as upholding the highest values. It is as if you say: ‘I love the ‘Ndrangheta more than my own family.’”

Luigi Bonaventura

The two-year maxi trial is expected to bring forth charges against 355 defendants. The defendants include mafiosi, freemasons, police captains, and even a former senator from Silvio Berlusconi’s party. The charge list is long and includes murder, extortion and corruption.

Nicola Bonaventura – a quest for redemption

After admitting to murders and serving ten years in jail, Nicola Bonaventura was finally released in 2018. Along with his wife, he runs a group for fellow mafia defectors and other reforming criminals known as the Supporters of Collaborators and Witnesses of Justice.

Bonaventura has also testified against numerous powerful mafiosi in several court cases, including the Rinascita-Scott trial, which is only the most recent of them.

Hope for the future

Lead prosecutor Nicola Gratteri is hopeful that just as Cosa Nostra lost its power after the 1980s Maxi-Trial, this will mark the beginning of the end for the ‘Ndrangheta.

“I have known the mafia since I was a child because I was hitchhiking to school and I often saw dead bodies on the road. I thought: when I grow up, I want to do something so that this won’t happen again.”

Nicola Gratteri
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