Severed Pig's Head Left On Doorstep Of Crime-Fighting Italian Priest Ennio Stamile

02/02/2012 04:39 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2012

A bloody, severed pig's head, gagged with a wad of cloth, was dumped on the front doorstep of an Italian clergyman who's been critical of mob crime in his neighborhood.

It's a clear Godfather-esque warning to the Rev. Ennio Stamile, who has been victimized twice over the past week after speaking out against organized crime in his home region of Calabria -- famous for its high rate of mob-related murders, The Telegraph reports.

It's the second threat pointed at Stamile in just five days -- allegedly by the 'Ndrangheta mafia -- after his car was vandalized five days earlier.

But a man with a higher power on his side is hard to take out with a threat ripped off of Don Vito Corleone.

"These are people who are warped by evil, but righteousness pays and pays many times over," he told the paper on Monday. "I certainly won't stop what I'm doing, but I don't want to send a message that I'm trying to defy anyone. Calabria has no need for heroes, just people who want to do their duty."

That said, violence aimed at Italian officials -- relatively uncommon in comparison to civilian murders by mobsters -- has seen an uptick in the past few years in southern Italy. The Telegraph also reported in September 2010 that Naples-based Mayor Angelo Vassallo was gunned down by the Camorra mafia because of his opposition to illegal construction rackets.

The 'Ndrangheta, an extremely wealthy crime syndicate with territory all over Calabria, according to Reuters, has made a fortune from drug dealing and other illegal activities.

Italian officials are rallying behind Stamile to keep fighting the good fight.

"It's a nasty business. We have faith in the forces of order and the judiciary. A priest has never been targeted in this way in [this neighborhood]," said Giuseppe Aieta, mayor of Cetraro, a mob-heavy town in Calabria.


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