Police target 'Ndrangheta mafia in raids across Europe

Mafia raids across Europe target 'Ndrangheta group

Police launch coordinated raids on Italian mafia in Europe

Police arrested dozens of suspected mobsters in Europe and South America on Wednesday in a huge global swoop targeting Italy's notorious 'Ndrangheta mafia clan, officials said.

The busts were part of an investigation codenamed Pollino which was launched in 2016 against the 'ndrangheta criminal group on allegations of cocaine trafficking, money laundering, bribery and violence.

"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.

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. Cocaine and ecstasy pills also were seized in Wednesday's raids.

Italian police said 90 people had so far been detained.

It is the only mafia organisation operating on all continents, say prosecutors, and is believed to now be the most influential Italian organised-crime group.

But he warned that it was "just a first step", saying the arrests were "nothing for the 'Ndrangheta, there are thousands of people who should be arrested and billions that should be seized".

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German federal police said in a statement on December 5 that there had been multiple arrests in the early morning raids on premises linked to the 'Ndrangheta, a southern Italy-based organized crime group.

"We send a clear message to organised crime groups across Europe".

According to reports, Italian restaurants and ice cream parlors were used to launder money as well as several businesses and homes across four countries.

The European police agency Europol said it was a "decisive hit against one of the most powerful Italian criminal networks in the world".

But Italy's top Mafia prosecutor, Federico Cafiero De Raho, also sounded a note of caution, saying the raids only scratched the surface of the powerful 'ndrangheta, whose tentacles and illicit activities, including huge cocaine trafficking operations, were spread all over the world.

Settimino Mineo, center, who allegedly took over as the Palermo head of Cosa Nostra, is escorted by Italian Carabinieri police.

Jeweller Mineo, 80, was detained 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 previous year.

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