Italy Arrests Camorra's “Godmother”

Published: 10 August 2021

Liciardi Carabinieri

Special anti-mafia unit of the Italian Carabinieri arrested Camorra's "Godmother", Maria Licciardi. (Photo: Carabinieri, Twitter)

By Zdravko Ljubas

Police in Italy arrested on Saturday one of the country’s most wanted organized crime figures — 70-year-old Maria Licciardi, also known as “Madrina” or “The Godmother” of the Naples-based Camorra.

A special Carabinieri anti-mafia unit apprehended Licciardi at the Rome Ciampino airport as she was trying to leave for Malaga, Spain, to visit her daughter. The “madrina” allegedly had a one way ticket to Spain.

Italian Interior Minister, Luciana Lamorgese, commended the arrest, saying it demonstrated the police’s “commitment and determination.”

Godmother Licciardi is suspected of mafia-style affiliation, extortion, receiving money of illicit origin, and disrupting auctions.

She reportedly controlled extortion rackets as the leader of the Licciardi Camorra criminal syndicate clan, founded by her late brother Gennaro Licciardi.

Together with the Mallardo and Contini families, Licciardi formed the “Secondigliano alliance,” which for years dominated the northern and central area of Naples as well as the Vomero and Posillipo hills.

Media cited prosecutors in Naples as saying that Licciardi won at the beginning of this century a long-running bloody battle between clans that left the city strewn with dead people practically every day.

Maria Licciardi, aka “a piccerella” or “the petit one,” as mobsters nicknamed her due to her small stature, was first arrested in 2001, but was released in 2009 after serving time for mafia-related offenses.

On Saturday, “she didn’t bat an eyelash when the officers blocked her and served the warrant signed by the Naples prosecutors’ office,” ANSA reported.

Licciardi inspired the authors of the popular TV series Gomorrah to create the character of Scianel, a cruel and fearless female mafia boss. Other mafiosi were heard saying she was more dangerous than Matteo Messina Denaro, one of the most wanted fugitives in Europe, also known as Diabolik.