- The Washington Times - Friday, January 10, 2014

Police in Italy have cracked an ancient mafia code used to initiate new members into the organized crime network.

Rome investigators found the age-old document while pursuing leads about a murder of a member of the ‘Ndrangheta crime organization, based in Calabria, The Telegraph reported. The text they found includes a code that uses Greek-like and Egyptian-like symbols and refers to the “blood and honor” vow recruits have to take to join the syndicate, Fox News reported.

“Its content is basically the formula that a person must recite to become part of the ‘Ndrangheta,” said Renato Cortese, the head of the police unit that found the document, to BBC.

The document was handwritten and spanned three pages. Two police officers on the Rome force were able to crack the code and translate the symbols, Fox News reported.

“Finding such a document shows that even if they are projected towards big businesses and are a criminal group with a global presence, they still use archaic systems,” Mr. Cortese said, BBC reported.

The ‘Ndrangheta is now seen as more powerful that the Sicilian Mafia, with its fingers mostly in illegal drug trades around the world.