Police arrest about 90 in raids on Italian mafia

Police arrest about 90 in raids on Italian mafia

Law enforcement and judicial officials speak at a press conference organized by Eurojust in The Hague, Netherlands, on December 5, 2018.

"It's nearly a cliche, but the operation carried out today confirms again the great danger of the 'ndrangheta, not just in drug trafficking, where it's the undisputed leader, but (also) in the financial sphere", said Francesco Ratta, a top police official in the southern Italian region of Calabria.

Supported by a coordination centre at Eurojust, judicial and law enforcement authorities from the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Belgium executed the arrests and seizures against 'Ndrangheta, an organized crime group based in Calabria, Italy, for cocaine trafficking, money laundering, bribery and violence.

Joint investigative teams involving police in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium are targeting members of the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta mafia, Germany's Federal Criminal Police Agency and Italy's Polizia di Stato confirmed after several media outlets had reported the story.

He said over 3,000 kilogrammes of cocaine was seized in the Netherlands along with 140 kilogrammes of ecstasy pills and 2 million Euros in cash.

Eurojust, the European Union agency that coordinates cross-border crime fighting, announced the raids in a statement.

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The crackdown on the powerful organised crime syndicate based in Calabria, southern Italy, came just a day after Italian police arrested the new boss of the Cosa Nostra Sicilian mafia and dozens of other suspects in a major operation.

"This is just a first step", said Cafiero De Raho, and added that "currently in Italy, we have 25 billion euros in assets that have been seized from 'Ndrangheta and other criminal organizations, and probably there will be another 25 billion seized".

In Germany, the operation focused on restaurants, offices and apartments, mainly in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, with 21 suspects targeted.

Among the 'ndrangheta clans hardest hit by Wednesday's raids was the Pelle-Vottari crime family, investigators said.

"One person was also arrested in Suriname, " a Dutch official said. That is the same clan involved in the bloody feud that culminated in six people being shot dead at an Italian eatery in the German city of Duisburg in August 2007.

"The arrests include high level members of the 'Ndrangheta, " Dutch Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said.

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