At least 90 Ndrangheta mafia members arrested in Europe-wide raids

Mafia raids across Europe target 'Ndrangheta group

Masked police stand in an ice parlor in Duisburg, western Germanty, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 as authorities conduct raids in Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands in a crackdown on the Italian mafia.

The Wednesday morning raids took place in Italy, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands in connection with the roundup.

Wednesday's raids were the culmination of an investigation codenamed "Pollino" that was launched in 2016 against the 'Ndrangheta.

Further details were not immediately available but Eurojust scheduled a news conference for later in the day in The Hague.

"We send a clear message to organised crime groups across Europe".

It said 47 suspects had been targeted and 65 premises were being searched, adding that searches were also underway in Spain. They are not the only ones able to operate across borders.

Kris Vandepaer, a Belgian Federal Police director, said law enforcement agents in Belgium had carried out over a dozen "high-risk raids" and did so "without a single incident".

Five suspects were arrested in the Netherlands, where Dutch prosecutors said the investigation began in 2014 after they noticed money laundering at two Italian restaurants in the south that showed criminal links with Germany and Calabria, home of the 'Ndrangheta.

The Eurojust offices in The Hague.

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.

The 'Ndrangheta group comes from Calabria in the south of Italy, it is one of three mafia crime groups, which includes the Camorra, and the Cosa Nostra, commonly known as the Mafia.

He said the "unprecedented and extraordinary result" targeted "dangerous members of the 'Ndrangheta family deeply involved in drug trafficking and money laundering".

Federico Cafiero De Raho, a prosecutor in Italy, told the press conference the investigation would continue, in The Hague, Netherlands, on December 5, 2018.

Dutch chief public prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said dozens of raids also netted about 2 million euros (£1.7 million) in criminal proceeds as well as drugs including ecstasy and cocaine.

Bombardieri added that the crime syndicate is not confined to Europe, but it has operations elsewhere in the world, including the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Cafiero De Raho said the raids are just one stage in a long-term fight against organized crime.

The 'Ndrangheta is considered the leading mafia group that managed to extend its reach even amid the scrutiny and constant arrests.



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