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Mafia Learns Coffee Crime Doesn’t Pay

May 10, 2011

The Italian police just busted a mafia family – the Mallardos - that was controlling a coffee distribution sector in Italy worth almost $800 million. An Australian news service online just posted the story about the operation, code named “Caffe Macchiato”. The assets seized by police included about 900 properties, 23 companies and 200 bank accounts. The family had control of the whole coffee business in the area from production and distribution of coffee to the wholesaling of drinks and coffee machines. Pharmaceuticals were also included, but nothing was said about how these relate to coffee. The case was cracked by bugging a “bunker” inside an insurance office connected to the family. Roberto Maroni, Italy’s interior minister, said it was an "extraordinary operation. Seizing assets from the clans means hitting them in the heart and making them understand that crime doesn't pay." The businesses affected are in the Naples area. They were being forced to buy coffee controlled by the family, who also sold them the machines. It’s not clear how this will affect the cafes and coffee bars. The particular brand or brands of coffee involved were not disclosed. Presumably the coffee bars will now be free to select coffees of their choice. Hopefully there are no other Mafia families doing the same thing in other parts of Italy who could move in to replace the Mallardos. It’s always been alcohol and drugs that attracted the mafia in the past. We’ve often heard that coffee is the new wine. This serves as another example of how true this is, and how lucrative the coffee business has become.

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