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Police arrest dozens of suspected mobsters in global operation

Police arrest dozens of suspected mobsters in global operation”

Members of the notorious 'Ndrangheta Italian mafia have been targeted in a simultaneous police sting in Europe.

Those arrested are suspected of drug trafficking, money laundering, bribery and violence, said Italian police and Eurojust, the European prosecution agency that tackles cross-border organised crime.

Police launched a string of anti-mafia raids on Wednesday, targeting the notorious criminal franchise in Italy, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, according to authorities.

The 'Ndrangheta - whose heartland is the southern Calabria region - is one of the three main mafia groups in Italy, along with the Sicilian mafia and the Camorra. Around 90 arrests were made; 4,000 kilograms (8,820 pounds) of cocaine and 140 kilograms of ecstasy pills were seized.

"They are in charge of drug trafficking in Germany, and they launder money by reinvesting it in legitimate businesses like restaurants", said Christian Hoppe, chief criminal director of Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office. Italian authorities said raids were also conducted in South America.

But Federico Cafiero De Raho, Italian anti-Mafia and anti-terrorism national prosecutor, also sounded a note of caution, saying that the raids only scratched the surface of the powerful 'ndrangheta, whose tentacles and illicit activities spread all over the world.

"Today we send a clear message to organized crime groups across Europe", Eurojust Vice President Filippo Spiezia said.

05 December 2018 North Rhine-Westphalia Pulheim During the large-scale raid against the Italian Mafia police arrested one of the alleged main perpetrators. The owner of Osteria is accused of being a member of a criminal organisation and of having been
Police also raided an Italian restaurant in Pulheim North Rhine-Westphalia Germany

Officials hailed Wednesday's operation - dubbed "Operation Pollina" - as a serious blow to the group.

As well as arresting dozens of suspected mobsters in Italy, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, police seized drugs and around 2 million euros ($2.3 million). "There are thousands of people who should be arrested and billions of euros that should be seized".

Early-morning raids took place in Italy, the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, as well as in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Ndrangheta is a mafia organisation from the south of Italy which has extended its influence to many other countries.

He added, groups of the 'Ndrangheta and its allies, have infiltrated the ports around Europe and "polluted" lawyers and accountants in many countries on their payrolls.

On Tuesday, Italian police arrested new Cosa Nostra boss Settimino Mineo and dozens of other suspects in Sicily in a major swoop.

Mineo, 80, was detained along with at least 45 others just before he was due to be appointed official heir to notorious mafia boss Toto Riina who died in prison a year ago.



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