European authorities launch crackdown on Italian mob

Mafia raids across Europe target 'Ndrangheta group

Eurojust, the European agency that oversees judicial cooperation in criminal investigations, coordinated the worldwide operation codenamed "Pollino" and confirmed that several arrests and seizures had been made in the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Belgium.

Police swooped on locations in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium in a series of co-ordinated raids.

Prosecutors and officials said the raids on Wednesday netted about 2 million euros in criminal proceeds and some ecstasy pills and cocaine were found.

"One person was also arrested in Suriname, " a Dutch official said.

Mafia raids across Europe target 'Ndrangheta group
Police arrest 84 suspected mafia members in coordinated raids across four European countries

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

The 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate, which comes from Italy's Calabria region, is widely believed to be the most powerful Italian mafia organization, with massive rackets in money laundering and cocaine dealing.

Italian police said there have been at least 90 arrests, the BBC reported, but the operation is still ongoing elsewhere.

"Today we send a clear message to organized crime groups across Europe", Eurojust Vice President Filippo Spiezia said.

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In Germany, federal police said there had been multiple arrests in the early morning raids. BKA figures show that in 2017, 14 organized crime cases were filed against members of Italian mafia groups, half of which were attributed to 'Ndrangheta.

Two arrests were made in Luxembourg, and five in the Netherlands, Eurojust said.

Officials said by midday of the operation, nearly 4,000 kilos of cocaine and hundreds of kilos of other drugs were seized.

But some express caution and said the mafia will continue to pose threat as the group still has resources and is operating across the world.

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European police agency Europol called it a "decisive hit against one of the most powerful Italian criminal networks in the world".

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.

Wednesday's raids come a day after the new suspected head of the Cosa Nostra and 45 other alleged gangsters were arrested.

Just under half of the suspects were detained in Italy.

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