The Italian mafia has been around much longer and is more organized. The cartels have only been around for a short time and is rather chaotic: Leaders die and are replaced frequently.
The Italian mafia operates off of trust and honor. You know that if someone stabs you in the back, they will be killed by your "family". The Mexican drug cartel is just full of scumbags who would murder their friends just as quickly as their enemies.
Going on nothing but limited knowledge.
The Cartel currently runs Mexico, the Italian Mafia has been losing its influence.
The cartels have the numbers. A army of brainless essays.
These people have lost a sense of right and wrong. They fear little because they have nothing to lose. They are driven by pure capitalist greed and don't respect any life. The Italian mafia has some standards.