Published: Thu, December 06, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Around 90 mafia members arrested in raids across Europe

Around 90 mafia members arrested in raids across Europe

Hundreds of police in Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands have arrested at least 84 suspected mobsters and seized about $3.1 million in a series of coordinated raids targeting a powerful branch of the Italian mafia.

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.

German federal police said in a statement on December 5 that there had been multiple arrests in the early morning raids on premises linked to the 'Ndrangheta, a southern Italy-based organized crime group.

Officials speak at a press conference detailing 'Operation Pollino, ' a coordinated effort to fight organized crime in Europe, in The Hague, Netherlands, on December 5, 2018.

Operation Pollino was co-ordinated by Eurojust, the EU's cross-border justice authority, which described it as a "decisive" intervention against organised crime.

Specifically, over three tonnes of cocaine and 140kg of ecstasy were seized in the coordinated raids, with several mafia-owned Italian restaurants and ice cream parlours stormed.

The "Ndrangheta is seen as the most powerful Italian mafia organization, trumping Sicily's Cosa Nostra and Naples" Camorra.

The crackdown on the powerful organised crime syndicate based in Calabria, southern Italy, came just a day after Italian police arrested the new boss of the separate Sicilian mafia and dozens of other suspects in a major scoop.

Eurojust said Italian authorities arrested 41 suspects mainly in the southern regions of Calabria and Catanzaro.

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.

He also confirmed that there had been raids in Suriname, a small South American country that was once a Dutch colony.

Officials hailed Wednesday's operation - dubbed "Operation Pollina" - as a serious blow to the group.

On Tuesday, Italian police arrested new Cosa Nostra boss Settimino Mineo and dozens of other suspects in Sicily.

Germany's Der Spiegel reported that the German operation was mostly concentrated in North Rhine-Westphalia - a stronghold for the mafia - and involved 240 police and another 240 support staff from the federal criminal agency.

He said that fighting organized crime across state lines "requires judicial instruments like the ones used in this occasion in Europe, which allowed us to coordinate our regulations, and enabled us to counter 'Ndrangheta". 80-year-old jeweller, Settimo Mineo, was detained in a dawn raid in Palermo.

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