Saverio Mammoliti

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Saverio Mammoliti (born December 13, 1942) also known as Saro, is a 'Ndrangheta boss from Oppido Mamertina and Castellace in Calabria. In 2003, he became a pentito when he decided to collaborate with Italian justice. Saro Mammoliti’s nickname was the "playboy of Castellace" for his good looks and taste in women[1][2]

'Ndrangheta heritage[edit]

Saro Mammoliti was born in a historical crime family in the Gioia Tauro plain. The Mammoliti 'ndrina was based in Castelacce. His father Francesco Mammoliti was killed in October 1954 in a feud with the Barbaro 'ndrina. His brother Vincenzo Mammoliti, took over the command of the clan seconded by their other brother Antonino Mammoliti. After Vincenzo’s death in August 1988, Saro succeeded him.

In contrast to the conservative rural traditions of the Ndrangheta, Saro Mammoliti became a ‘modern’ boss, enjoying the good life in Reggio Calabria and Rome – well-dressed and driving around in his Jaguar in the company of beautiful women, which earned him the nickname, the "playboy of Castellace".[3][4]

In December 1972 he escaped from custody in relation the long-running feud with the Barbaro clan, and lived more or less openly without fear of recapture for the next 20 years. In 1975, while officially a fugitive, he got married to the 15-year-old Maria Caterina Nava at Castellace's parish church next to the local police station,[5] and he subsequently visited each of his new-born children at the local hospital.[1][2]

Getty kidnap[edit]

Saro Mammoliti was one of the men charged with the kidnap of John Paul Getty III on July 10, 1973, in Rome. Police considered him to be "very close to the brain, or rather brains, behind the plot," [6] including one of the most important bosses of the 'Ndrangheta, Girolamo Piromalli. Nine men eventually were arrested. Two were convicted and sent to prison. The others, including Piromalli and Mammoliti, were acquitted for lack of evidence. However, Mammoliti, a fugitive at the time, was convicted for drug trafficking.[1][7][8]

The ransom of approximately US$3 million was invested in the trucks with which the 'Ndrangheta won all the transportation contracts for the container port of Gioia Tauro.[1][9] After he decided to collaborate with Italian justice, Mammoliti confessed to have been involved in the kidnap.[10][11]

The Mammoliti clan also 'persuaded' local landowners to sell them their lands at giveaway prices, or to rent it to them for next to nothing - or the clan simply fenced it in and treated it as its own.[1][3]

Drug trafficking[edit]

Mammoliti was involved in heroin and cocaine trafficking. In 1973 he was charged of heroin trafficking when an undercover operation by the US Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) had approached to supply heroin and cocaine. Mammoliti explained that before a deal could be made he needed acquiescence of three people – the other two were Antonio Macrì and Girolamo Piromalli. If they would give their consent he had every amount of cocaine available; but when it came to heroin he needed to contact “his friend Paolo Violi” in Canada.[12][13]

He was seen in Tangiers (Morocco) and Amsterdam (the Netherlands) – hubs in international drug trafficking – and allegedly invested his criminal proceeds in hotel construction at the Calabrian coast.[3][4]

More trouble with the law[edit]

In 1982 he was convicted to 33 years in jail at the Maxi Trial against the 'Ndrangheta,[7] only to have it quashed by the Supreme Court.[3] He was arrested on June 9, 1984, charged with homicide.[14]

He did not stay behind bars for long, however. He supposedly had friends in high places: the telephone numbers of the prime minister's office and various Rome ministries were once found in his possession.[15] He has had his property seized then handed back.[3]


He was again on June 1, 1992, together with his wife Maria Caterina Nava and three others.[16] At the time he was considered to be the number two of the 'Ndrangheta in the Gioia Tauro plain, next to Giuseppe Peppino Piromalli.[7]

Released for insufficient proof he was arrested again on August 31, 1992.[1][17] Charges include allegations of the murder of baron Antonio Francesco Cordopatri, whose lands had been effectively seized by the Mammoliti-clan; six bomb attacks; 19 arson attacks; the destruction of 1,100 olive, citrus and kiwi trees in 15 separate incursions, and 14 instances of agricultural equipment stolen.[3]

He was sent down for 22 years for extortion and other Mafia-related charges.[1] In 1995, he received a life sentence in the trial against the "Mafia of three provinces".[18]


In May 2003, Mammoliti decided to collaborate with the Italian justice and became a pentito.[18][19] Nevertheless, he received another 20 years sentence for his role in the Oppidio feud between rival clans over the control of the area.[20]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Woman of honour, The Independent, February 25, 1996
  2. ^ a b Arlacchi, Mafia Business, p. 155 and Male heir born to Mammoliti, Il Giornale di Calabria, January 19, 1979, quoted in: Arlacchi, Mafia Business, pp. 184-85
  3. ^ a b c d e f Olive groves land a mafia boss in jail, The Independent, September 2, 1992
  4. ^ a b (in Italian) Storia di Don Saro, boss play boy, La Repubblica, September 1, 1992
  5. ^ (in Italian) Il cervello mafioso si sposa, scompare e beffa polizia e Fbi, La Stampa, 2 September 1975
  6. ^ Catching the Kidnapers, Time Magazine, January 28, 1974
  7. ^ a b c (in Italian) Mammoliti, nella cupola calabrese con i volantini del ministro, Corriere della Sera, September 2, 1992
  8. ^ J. Paul Getty III, 54, Dies; Had Ear Cut Off by Captors, The New York Times, February 7, 2011
  9. ^ Arlacchi, Mafia Business, p. 87
  10. ^ (in Italian) Mammoliti: Anch’io responsabile del sequestro Getty, Antimafia Duemila, January 9, 2004
  11. ^ (in Italian) Il padrino: non ho commesso quei delitti, Gazetta del Sud, February 16, 2004
  12. ^ (in Italian) Esposizione introduttiva del Pubblico ministero nel processo nei confronti di Giulio Andreotti, Direzione Distrettuale Antimafia Palermo, 1994
  13. ^ Arlacchi, Mafia Business, p. 152
  14. ^ (in Italian) Torna in cella Saro Mammoliti il play-boy della 'ndrangheta, La Repubblica, June 10, 1984
  15. ^ Arlacchi, Mafia Business, p. 166
  16. ^ (in Italian) Gioia Tauro, arrestato il capocosca Mammoliti, La Repubblica, June 2, 1992
  17. ^ (in Italian) In manette il clan dei Mammoliti, La Repubblica, September 1, 1992
  18. ^ a b (in Italian) Un tornado la notizia del pentimento di “don” Saro Mammoliti, Gazzetta del Sud, May 1, 2003
  19. ^ (in Italian) Si è pentito Saro Mammoliti padrino della 'ndrangheta, Corriere della Sera, May 18, 2003
  20. ^ (in Italian) Faida di Oppido, Saro Mammoliti condannato a 20 di reclusione, Gazetta del Sud, April 9, 2008


  • Arlacchi, Pino (1988). Mafia Business. The Mafia Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-285197-7
  • Paoli, Letizia (2003). Mafia Brotherhoods: Organized Crime, Italian Style, Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-515724-9