New sweep nabs accused Italian Mafia figures across Europe

Mafia raids across Europe target 'Ndrangheta group

Police launched a string of anti-mafia raids on Wednesday, targeting the notorious criminal franchise in Italy, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, according to authorities.

Eurojust, the European Union agency that coordinates cross-border crime fighting, announced the raids in a statement.

The homes of high-ranking mobsters were also targeted, with police successfully recovering millions of euros in laundered money.

More than 80 people, including high-ranking members of the powerful organised crime syndicate, accused of drug trafficking and money laundering, were arrested in coordinated raids in six countries, European Union justice agency Eurojust said.

The 'ndrangheta is Italy's most powerful criminal organization, eclipsing by far Sicily's Cosa Nostra or the Naples area Camorra.

In total, 41 people were arrested in Italy, 21 in Germany, 14 in Belgium, five in the Netherlands and two in Luxembourg, with operations still underway, Eurojust said.

Some 4 tonnes of cocaine were traced during the two-year joint investigation.

Italian anti-mafia prosecutor Federico Cafiero De Raho said the operations would affect the 'Ndrangheta's drug trafficking operations around the world, including Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil. "There are thousands of people who should be arrested and billions of euros that should be seized".

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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.

A leading expert on the 'ndrangheta, Catanzaro-based Prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, recently said the Calabrian-based 'ndrangheta syndicate has for years been buying up hotels, restaurants and other properties in Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany to both launder some of the billions of dollars it rakes in through cocaine trafficking, as well as invest that money to start "clean" businesses and earn even more revenue.

He added, groups of the 'Ndrangheta and its allies, have infiltrated the ports around Europe and "polluted" lawyers and accountants in many countries on their payrolls.

Police arrested dozens of people in Europe and South America in a "decisive hit" against Italy's notorious 'Ndrangheta mafia group, officials said Thursday.

Police also raided an Italian restaurant in Pulheim, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Police in Italy have arrested the man said to be the new head of the Sicilian Mafia, along with 45 other suspects.

Italian media said key organised crime family members were targeted.

Around 90 suspected mafia members have been arrested across Europe.

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