Police across several European countries have arrested more than 100 people as part of an operation to clamp down on the Italian ‘Ndrangheta mafia.
Arrests took place in Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain, according to German police.
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Calabria-based ’Ndrangheta is one of the richest and most powerful organised crime groups in Europe and is estimated to control about 80 percent of Europe’s cocaine traffic, and is believed to have invested in construction projects in Italy, Belgium, the United States, and Germany.
Their reach has also extended across all parts of the world, making them Italy’s biggest mafia organisation.
Police forces across the continent have been monitoring their activities and members extensively in recent years.
The suspects have been accused of money laundering, tax evasion, smuggling drugs and commercial gang fraud, German police in North Rhine-Westphalia said in a statement.
In Italy, the Carabinieri arrested 108 people suspected of being involved with the group, and in Germany, more than 1,000 officers searched dozens of homes, offices, and stores in several states.
According to the German news agency dpa, the state interior minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Michael Ebling, called the raids an “effective blow” against organised crime.
“Today sends out a very clear signal. There is no place for organised crime in Europe and there is certainly no place for it here with us in Rhineland-Palatinate,” he said.