More than 150 arrested across Europe after investigation into Italy’s most powerful mafia group

Italy seized money by Carabinieri
An unknown quantity of money which was seized in Italy

More than 150 people have been arrested across Germany, Spain and Italy after a three-year investigation into a powerful Italian mafia group.

Italian and Belgian investigators believe the suspected members of the ‘Ndrangheta organised crime group smuggled close to 25 tonnes of cocaine between October 2019 and January 2022.

The group is also accused of funnelling more than €22m (£19m) from Calabria in Italy to Belgium, the Netherlands and South America.

The ‘Ndrangheta is based in the southern region of Calabria, and has surpassed Cosa Nostra (Sicilian mafia) to become the most powerful mafia group in Italy – and arguably the world’s richest organised crime group.

Italy’s Carabinieri police were backed by helicopters as they carried out 108 arrests in various cities across the country in an investigation based in the southern city of Reggio Calabria, they said in a statement.

A further 15 people were detained on the orders of police in the northwestern Italian port city of Genoa.

Those arrested are accused of, among other things, mafia association, trafficking of drugs and weapons, and money laundering.

Photos released by law enforcement in Italy show guns, drugs and an unknown quantity of money which was seized in raids.

Guns which were seized in the raids in Italy
Guns which were seized in the raids in Italy
Drug packages are displayed in an unknown location following an operation of the Carabinieri del Ros and the Provincial Command of Reggio Calabria in Italy and in various foreign countries
Drug packages which were seized in Italy

 

Meanwhile, thousands of German police were involved in searches that led to the arrests of dozens of suspects in early morning raids.

Among those arrested in Germany were four people in Bavaria, 15 in North Rhine-Westphalia, and 10 in the southwestern state of Rhineland Palatinate.

State police in Bavaria said the arrests were the result of more than three years of an investigation dubbed “Operation Eureka”.

German police also seized potential evidence at dozens of locations including homes and offices.

Two suspects who were under investigation in the western state of Saarland were arrested in Italy.

Police did not identify them, saying only that one was 47 years old and the other 25.

 

A police officer stands by a van during a raid in Hagen Pic:AP
A police officer stands by a van during a raid in Hagen in Germany. (Image: AP)
A police officer gets into a car with a suspect during a raid in Hagen Pic:DPA/AP
A police officer gets into a car with a suspect during a raid in Hagen. (Image:DPA/AP)

 

Among other things, the suspects in Germany are accused of money laundering, gang tax evasion, commercial gang fraud, and narcotics smuggling, a statement from the German state office of criminal investigation in North Rhine-Westphalia said.

Meanwhile, a man was also arrested in Spain’s southern city of Malaga as part of the coordinated investigation, Spanish police said, without giving further details

The coordinated probe was carried out by investigators in Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain, German public prosecutors and state police have said.

A press release from law enforcement in the Italian city of Regio Calabria, where the ‘Ndrangheta is based, said arrest warrants were also served in Belgium, France, Portugal, Romania.

 

Source:  Sky News news.sky.com

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