The coronavirus hit Italy like a freight train. By March 10, there were already over 8,500 cases. Under massive pressure to stop the pandemic from spreading in prisons, the government was forced to make another unprecedented decision – they released more than 200 Mafia members from high-security prisons.
For prosecutors and investigators, this decision walked back decades of hard work. For the mafia, it came at a perfect moment. The coronavirus has not only offered new business opportunities such as selling masks but also has sent Italy spiraling toward complete economic collapse, leaving the most vulnerable Italians with no option but to turn to the mob.
VICE News goes to Naples, Italy to see how the mafia has used the pandemic to tighten their grip on Italy.