Police launch coordinated raids on Italian mafia in Europe

06 December, 2018, 00:49 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Federico Cafiero De Raho

'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, ' European legal cooperation organisation Eurojust said in a statement.

The suspected mafioso are believed to be involved in cocaine trafficking, money laundering, violence and bribery, said Eurojust, the European Union agency that coordinates cross-border crime fighting.

Police also raided an Italian restaurant in Pulheim, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Operation Pollino is being coordinated by the EU's Judicial Cooperation Unit, Eurojust.

The operation was coordinated by Eurojust, Europe's cross-border crime fighting agency, and resulted in drugs and cash being seized, in addition to the arrest of around 90 suspected mafia members and their associates.

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

Federico Cafiero De Raho, Italy's chief anti-mafia prosecutor, hailed the "extraordinary nature of this operation", but warned that the organization is "extremely powerful and extremely rich", so they are far from defeated.

Speaking in The Hague, De Raho said the arrests "are nothing for 'Ndrangheta".

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Italian police arrested Settimo Mineo, 80, Tuesday, who authorities believe to be the lead Mafia boss who replaced the late Salvatore Riina.

A spokesman for the Dutch public prosecution department refused to give any more information, the AD said, adding that the raids in the Netherlands involve "dozens" of locations.

Eurojust said those detained are suspected of drug trafficking, money laundering, bribery, and violence.

The investigation also involved operations in the South American country of Suriname.

The Belgian operations were concentrated on the Limburg area, home to many people of Italian descent who moved there after World War II to work in coal mines, Belgian prosecutors said.

Wednesday's operation came a day after Italian police arrested the suspected new head of the Sicilian Mafia and 45 other alleged gangsters, dealing a major blow to the mob as it tried to rebuild after years of setbacks.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who is Italian, sent "congratulations" to the police forces involved, adding: "Europe fights 'Ndrangheta criminal groups".

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