Police target 'Ndrangheta mafia in raids across Europe

Police target 'Ndrangheta mafia in raids across Europe

Wednesday's operation came after a two-year investigation into the Ndrangheta criminal group on allegations of cocaine trafficking, money laundering, bribery and violence.

The worldwide sweep involved police in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium working together against the powerful organised crime syndicate based in southern Italy.

It has surpassed Sicily's Cosa Nostra and the Naples-based Camorra in influence thanks to its control of the cocaine trade, and is the sole mafia organisation to operate on all continents, according to anti-mafia prosecutors.

He said that fighting organized crime across state lines "requires judicial instruments like the ones used in this occasion in Europe, which allowed us to coordinate our regulations, and enabled us to counter 'Ndrangheta".

In Germany, federal police said there had been multiple arrests in the early morning raids.

Operation Pollino was co-ordinated by Eurojust, the EU's cross-border justice authority, which described it as a "decisive" intervention against organised crime.

Dutch chief public prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said police had seized about two million euros, as well as drugs including ecstasy and cocaine.

The operation's success sent a "clear message to organized crime groups across Europe", Spiezia said.

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"There is no more room for this type of scum in Italy".

Speaking in The Hague, Cafiero de Raho said the arrests "are nothing for 'ndrangheta".

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

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".

In Germany, Wednesday's operation focused on restaurants, offices and apartments linked to the mafia group, focused on the North Rhine-Westphalia region, Der Spiegel reported.

Italian prosecutor Federico Cafiero de Raho told reporters on Monday that he expects an ongoing investigation into 'Ndrangheta and that what the arrests made so far are "nothing to them".

The vast anti-mafia operation was carried out by Italy's anti-mafia and anti-terrorism force in collaboration with German, Belgian and Dutch authorities, it said.

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