90 Arrested As Europe Cracks Down Italian Mafia
Police across Europe have carried out a series of coordinated raids targeting one of Italy’s main Mafia groups.
The action targeted the 'Ndrangheta mafia group which is based in the southern Calabria region of Italy.
Police carried out raids in Italy, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands – with 90 people arrested so far.
Authorities said the suspects stand accused of involvement in cocaine trafficking, money laundering, violence and bribery.
Policemen are standing in an ice cream parlour in the Citypalais, downtown Duisburg as part of a crack-down on the Italian mafia organisation 'Ndrangheta, 05-12-2018. Image: Christoph Reichwein/DPA/PA Images
In a statement, Europol said the investigation was the "largest, coordinated joint action against an organised criminal group to date in Europe."
Code-named 'Pollino,' the operation included several hundred police including special investigation units.
The European policing agency said around "4,000kg of cocaine and hundreds of kilos of other drugs have been detected across Europe during the course of the investigation."
Around €2m in criminal assets are expected to be seized in raids today.
There are three main mafia groups in Italy and the European action comes just a day after the alleged godfather of one of the others - the 'Cosa Nostra' Sicilian mafia - was arrested, along with 45 other suspects.
80-year-old jeweller Settimo Mineo was arrested in a dawn raid in the Sicilian capital city of Palermo yesterday.
It is believed he was elected Cosa Nostra godfather in May – and Italian media has described him as the successor to Toto Riina, who died in prison last year.
The third group is the Camorra, based in Naples.
Federal police vehicles parked in front of a shopping mall in North Rhine-Westphalia, Duisburg as raids against Italian mafia organisation 'Ndrangheta' are ongoing, 05-12-2018. Image: Christoph Reichwein (crei)/DPA/PA Images
Prosecutors said the 'Ndrangheta is the only mafia organisation known to be operating on all continents and is believed to now be the most influential Italian organised-crime group.
The action was coordinated by the EU Judicial Cooperation Unit (EUROJUST) and involved officers from Europol and law enforcement from the four member states.
Italian Prime Minister Luigi di Maio described the Cosa Nostra crackdown as "one of the biggest blows inflicted on the mafia by the state" and warned that there is "no more room for this type of scum in Italy."