Police arrest about 90 in raids on Italian mafia

Police arrest about 90 in raids on Italian mafia

Police are carrying out raids on homes at several locations in the Netherlands on Wednesday morning as part of a Europe-wide campaign against a Calabrian mafia organisation.

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

In Germany, Wednesday's operation focused on restaurants, offices and apartments, mainly in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria region.

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

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".

Some 140 kilograms of ecstasy pills and 3 000-4 000 kilos of cocaine were seized during the operation, Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said at a press conference in The Hague on Wednesday.

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.

"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.

Mafia raids across Europe target 'Ndrangheta group

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

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.

"One person was also arrested in Suriname, " a Dutch official said.

A 2012 police report showed the Ndrangheta could have as many as a hundred active members in this country.

He said that groups of the 'Ndrangheta and its allies had infiltrated ports around Europe to ease drug smuggling, and have "polluted" lawyers and accountants in numerous countries on their payrolls.

On Tuesday, the man accused of being the head of the Sicilian mafia, Settimo Mineo, an 80-year-old jeweller, was pictured being led away as police on the Italian island scooped up dozens of other suspected mafia members.

Just under half of the suspects were detained in Italy.

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