Police swoop on mafia suspects across Europe

Dozens of suspected members of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia were arrested in co-ordinated raids as part of what is being hailed as the biggest ever EU operation against organised crime.

A total of 84 suspects were arrested as police in Italy, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg raided the homes of suspected mafia bosses and searched restaurants and other businesses early yesterday morning. Italian authorities said raids were also conducted in South America.

The ‘Ndrangheta, a mafia organisation that operates out of the Calabria region of southern Italy, is one of the world’s largest crime syndicates and thought to make billions of euro through cocaine trafficking every year.

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

“We send a clear message to organised crime groups across Europe. They are not the only ones able to operate across borders,” said Filippo Spiezia, vice president of Eurojust.

Just under half of the suspects were detained in Italy. In Germany, the raids constituted the country’s greatest strike against the mafia, arresting 14 suspects.

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