Cosa Nostra | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminal Law

Cosa Nostra is a term used to refer to the Sicilian Mafia, which is a criminal organization that originated in Sicily, Italy.

The Sicilian Mafia is one of the most well-known and influential organized crime groups in the world and has a long history of involvement in activities such as extortion, loan sharking, drug trafficking, and murder.

Cosa Nostra is organized into a network of local groups or “families” that operate in cities and towns across Sicily and other parts of Italy. Each family is led by a boss, who is assisted by a hierarchy of underlings and advisors. The Sicilian Mafia is known for its strict code of secrecy and its use of violence and intimidation to maintain control and silence critics.

The Sicilian Mafia has faced significant law enforcement efforts in Italy and other countries in recent years, with numerous members and leaders being arrested and convicted of various crimes. However, the organization continues to operate and remains a significant threat to public safety and the rule of law.

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Last Modified: 01/08/2023


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