Secondigliano Alliance

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The Secondigliano Alliance (Italian: Alleanza di Secondigliano) is a strategic alliance of Camorra clans in Naples and its hinterland which controls drug trafficking and the extortion racket in many areas of Naples in the 1990s.

The main clans composing the alliance were the Licciardi clan, Contini clan and Lo Russo clan from Naples and the Mallardo clan from Giugliano. The alliance was initiated by Gennaro Licciardi, who built his clan in the early 1990s in the Secondigliano, a northern suburb of Naples.[1] The alliance included Edoardo Contini and Francesco Mallardo, and dominated the Neapolitan underworld during the 1990s. When the three male leaders died or were imprisoned, Licciardi’s sister Maria Licciardi was left in charge of the alliance.[2] Under her leadership, the alliance become more organized, secretive, sophisticated and consequently more powerful.[3]

The reign of Maria Licciardi ran smoothly for many years without any problems, until a disagreement arose over a consignment pure unrefined heroin. In the spring of 1999, a large consignment of heroin arrived from Istanbul, Turkey. Licciardi decreed it should not be used as it was too pure and strong for the junkies, and would kill them. However, the Lo Russo clan disagreed and repackaged the shipment ready for being sold on the streets. The sale of unrefined heroin resulted in the deaths of many drug addicts across Naples and caused great public outrage and resulted in massive police crackdowns on the Camorra clans. Many Camorristi were arrested and subsequently imprisoned.[4]

The Lo Russo clan eventually split from the alliance, causing disintegration and a bloody gang war, including the use of car bombs and bazooka attacks. Clans began fighting over turf, and attempted to destroy or take other clan's business.[1] When four clan members were murdered in her stronghold of Secondigliano, Licciardi was forced to retaliate. She mobilised her footsoldiers for an all-out counter-attack. The deadly gang wars resulted in nearly 120 deaths in Naples and the surrounding region. It was around this time that investigators became aware of Licciardi's existence.[4]

Maria Licciardi was arrested on June 15, 2001, which signaled the beginning of the end of the alliance.[1] Her brother Vincenzo Licciardi took over as a supreme head of the Secondigliano Alliance along with Paolo Di Lauro and Edoardo Contini. Licciardi was arrested on February 7, 2008.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Behan, See Naples and Die, pp. 262-3
  2. ^ Fiandaca, Women and the Mafia, p. 15
  3. ^ Godmother sends deadly message to her Mafia rivals, The Daily Telegraph, June 19, 2001
  4. ^ a b Italy's most wanted Mamma, The Guardian, June 30, 2000
  5. ^ Italy, U.S. target Mafia in massive raids, The Associated Press, February 7, 2008