More than 80 arrested in Mafia raids in Europe and South America

05 December 2018 North Rhine-Westphalia Duisburg Policemen are standing in an ice cream parlour in the Citypalais in downtown Duisburg. Investigators in Germany Italy the Netherlands and Belgium have raided members of the Italian mafia organisation

Police raided this ice cream shop in Duisburg Germany

Police arrested dozens of suspected mobsters in Europe and South America on Wednesday in a huge global swoop targeting Italy's notorious 'Ndrangheta mafia clan, officials said.

Several hundred police officers have searched restaurants, offices and apartments in Germany, which are associated with the Italian Mafia organization 'Ndrangheta, the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) announced on Wednesday. "It's an evolved 'ndrangheta, that we can say knows no borders ..."

The "unprecedented" crackdown on the group based in Calabria, southern Italy, came just a day after Italian police arrested the new boss of the separate Sicilian mafia.

Italian police hailed the co-operation between European police forces co-ordinated by Eurojust, saying it was an important new crime-fighting tactic that allowed investigators in different countries to share information in real time.

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.

The operation's success sent a "clear message to organized crime groups across Europe", Spiezia said.

"They are not the only ones able to operate across borders - so are Europe's judiciary and law enforcement communities."

"There is no more room for this type of scum in Italy".

05 December 2018 North Rhine-Westphalia Pulheim During the large-scale raid against the Italian Mafia police arrested one of the alleged main perpetrators. The owner of Osteria is accused of being a member of a criminal organisation and of having been
Police also raided an Italian restaurant in Pulheim North Rhine-Westphalia Germany

"They are invisible", Cafiero de Raho added.

He said the "unprecedented and extraordinary result", the fruit of a two-year operation, targeted "dangerous members of the 'Ndrangheta family deeply involved in drug trafficking and money laundering". There should be over 1,000 arrests and billions of euros should be seized.

In Germany, the raids are focused on the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the mafia has traditionally had a large presence.

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

Italian prosecutor Federico Cafiero de Raho told reporters on Monday that he expects an ongoing investigation into 'Ndrangheta and that what the arrests made so far are "nothing to them".

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.

He said that members of the mafia establish sophisticated networks with links to legitimate businesses and institutions in order to hide their criminal activity.

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