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Secret Italian Mafia Initiation Caught on Police Video

Police Say They Obtained Mafia Swearing In 1:12

Pledges to a powerful Italian mafia, the 'ndrangheta, vowed their loyalty to the syndicate in a secret initiation ceremony caught — for what is believed to be the first time — on police video, allowing a rare glimpse into the secret world of organized crime.

Carabinieri paramilitary police in Milan released the video on Tuesday but didn’t explain how they were able to film the ceremony at a farmhouse in Castello di Brianza in northern Italy. One of the recruits to the global cocaine trafficking organization was as young as 17, The Associated Press reported.

In the rite of initiation caught on video, men stood in a half circle with their heads bowed and listened as one man said: “Right in this holy evening, in the silence of the night, under the light of the stars and under the splendor of the moon, I create the holy chain. On behalf of Garibaldi, Mazzini and Lamormora, with words of humility, I create this holy society.”

Next, one of the apparent initiates repeated: “I swear to disown everything until the seventh generation and the entire society that I know.”

One of the strongest parts of the video is when the recruits pledged to always keep at least one bullet for himself, implying he should kill himself if he dishonors the family.

The 'ndrangheta, from the southern Italian region of Calabria, held the ceremony in the Lombardy region where they are known to have many business interests. The men could be seen at one pointing greeting each other with kisses and shaking hands.

The video shows how "the force of tradition" helped the syndicate to flourish, Milan prosecutor Ilda Boccassini told The AP.

— Claudio Lavanga and Miranda Leitsinger