Published: Thu, December 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Police arrest 84 in European crackdown on Italian mob

Police arrest 84 in European crackdown on Italian mob

Scores of members of the 'Ndrangheta Italian mafia group have been arrested in raids across Europe.

"Today, supported by a coordination center at Eurojust, judicial and law enforcement authorities from the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Belgium are now executing arrests and seizures against a 'Ndrangheta criminal group involved in cocaine trafficking, money laundering, bribery and violence", Wednesday's statement read.

European officials announced the arrests at the Hague headquarters of Eurojust, the European Union prosecutors agency set up to bolster the fight against cross-border crime in the 28-nation bloc.

German prosecutors said 65 premises linked to the southern Italy-based organised crime group were also being searched.

Officials said by midday of the operation, nearly 4,000 kilos of cocaine and hundreds of kilos of other drugs were seized. More than three tons of cocaine and about 300 pounds of ecstasy were seized.

Investigators said that the 'Ndrangheta had...

"Today we send a clear message to organized crime groups across Europe", said Filippo Spiezia, vice president of Eurojust, the European Union prosecution agency that coordinated the raids. Italian authorities said raids were also conducted in South America.

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At least 90 suspected Sicilian mafia members are under arrest on suspicion of drug trafficking, money laundering, bribery and violence.

Deputy Prime Minister Luigi di Maio hailed the operation as "one of the biggest blows inflicted on the mafia" by the Italian authorities.

Wednesday's raids come a day after the new suspected head of the Cosa Nostra and 45 other alleged gangsters were arrested.

The group surpassed Sicily's Cosa Nostra and the Naples-based Camorra groups, according to AFP, due to its tight on the control of cocaine trade.

In total 41 people were arrested in Italy, 21 in Germany, 14 in Belgium, five in the Netherlands and two in Luxembourg, with operations still underway, Eurojust said.

"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". "There are thousands of people who should be arrested and billions of euros that should be seized".

The 'ndrangheta "is the most important organized crime group in the world", said Gen. Alessandro Barbera, who commands the investigative unit of Italy's financial police corps.

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