Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 21–44 | Cite as

Group co-offending networks in Italy’s illegal drug trade

  • Valentina TentiEmail author
  • Carlo Morselli


Interdependent relations and cooperation between criminal groups are found to be recurrent when studying illegal market activities specifically and organized crime generally. However, there is little systematic research into the level and characterization of how criminal groups co-offend with one another. Based on a case-study approach, this article examines structural co-offending patterns between differently ethnic-based criminal groups involved in an illegal drug distribution network targeted during a law-enforcement operation in Italy. Data was extracted from electronic and surveillance transcripts obtained from court documents, and analyzed using social network analysis (SNA) techniques. The results provide an insight into the structure and organizational features of group co-offending networks. They also offer an investigation into ethnicity within between-group criminal activity in Italy’s illegal drug trade. Implications for crime control strategies are discussed.


Organize Crime Social Network Analysis Cluster Coefficient Betweenness Centrality Illegal Drug 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank Ernesto U. Savona, Francesco Calderoni, Mangai Natarajan, Paul Ponsaers, Dina Siegel, David Wall and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments at various stages of this study. The authors’ thanks also go to Cosimo Sasso, Antonio Girone, Robert Nash and Emilio Russo of the Direzione Investigativa Antimafia (DIA) for facilitating access to court data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MontrealCanada

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