Cosimo Di Lauro (Naples, 1973-Opera, 2022) was never the smartest in the family. He is also not the most gifted for business or for social relations. Without great aptitude for what the position required and with too many impulses of vanity, he wanted to show that he could be the prince of one of the most respected families of the Neapolitan Camorra and ended up causing his implosion. Sentenced to two life sentences for various murders and belonging to a mafia association, locked up in a Milanese prison under the 41 Bis solitary confinement regime -applied to Italian mafiosi-, he died on Monday at the age of 49 in his cell under circumstances not yet determined. . “He died today, alone, desperate, literally mad in a prison. He could have tried to redeem himself but he didn’t want to regret it. He didn’t want to be the first in the family to do it. Everyone has betrayed him, he betrayed everything ”, published the writer Roberto Saviano on his social networks.
The drama of Cosimo Di Lauro, precisely, is that his greatest merit was becoming the source of inspiration for the protagonist of the series Gomorrah, based on the book of the same name by Saviano. In the image and likeness of that brawler who insisted on being nicknamed Designer Gift (because of his fondness for clothes from great fashion designers), Saviano created a bratty, impulsive and cruel young man who inherited one of the largest criminal empires in the history of the Italian mafia. But even in the television product, the height of the character and his ability to manage the rowdy environment was greater than in reality. Cosimo always lived in the shadow of some of his little brothers and, above all, of his father, Paolo Di Lauro: the legendary patriarch of the clan who forged his criminal legend in the Neapolitan suburbs. From him he received an empire by blood and imploded it with a bloody war that turned hitherto allies into enemies.
It is impossible to understand Cosimo, a vain guy with long hair and always black clothes, without a trace of his father. Paolo Di Lauro, the adopted son of a humble family in the Secondigliano neighbourhood, seasoned as a counterfeit street vendor, began working under the orders of Aniello Lamonica, a historical boss in the area in the 1980s, also known as The butcher for his habit of ripping out the hearts of his victims. Extortion, beatings, cigarette smuggling… But Di Lauro was hungry and, as usually happens in these cases, he ended up murdering his protector, became independent and understood better than anyone where the future of Scampia lay, the place where they had been built. some huge official protection buildings that ended up being converted into one of the largest drug supermarkets in Europe.
The disgrace in which the patriarch of the clan plunged that area, a hermit who hardly left home during his long reign, did not prevent him from always being perceived as a benefactor. Heaven, his affiliates maintained, thanked him with 10 sons. In the account books that the police seized from him, they appear as F1, F2, F3…(for figure, son) in cold chronological order. Cosimo, as the firstborn, was always known in summaries as F1.
The millionaire, who was living on a boat in the port of Naples after his escape, had revolutionized the business. He strengthened ties with Colombian producers, managing to lower the price of cocaine at origin. He liquidated the intermediaries and opened the market, competing face to face with the other large European organizations. The clan distributed throughout Italy and in the neighborhood —the iconic Scampia candles— managed to create more than 20 drug sales stalls.
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Cosimo’s moment came after the escape of his father. As the firstborn he took the reins of the clan, albeit briefly. He imposed new rules and assassinated the organization’s senators to replace them with younger lieutenants whom he trusted more. The move, without his father’s apparent consent, led to the faida who in 2004 and 2005 confronted the Di Lauro clan with a group of dissidents led by Raffaele Amato, known as The Secessionists or The Spaniards —Amato was in charge of links with Spain— who left more than a hundred dead in the streets of Naples and its surroundings.
That terribly weakened the organization and in 2005 the patriarch, without the police having ever been able to hear his voice in any of the hundreds of intercepted calls, ended up sentenced to three life sentences in solitary confinement. Cosimo, too, was arrested shortly after. Marco, F4 in father’s accounting jargon, ended up being the head of the organization almost by elimination. But he too was arrested in 2019. His urban and social heritage can still be seen in Secondigliano, a neighborhood on the northern outskirts of Naples that has struggled in recent years to heal wounds and escape the stigma caused by the reign of the Say Laura.
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