More than 80 arrested in Mafia raids in Europe, South America
BERLIN - More than 80 people with suspected links to the 'Ndrangheta Mafia - considered one of the world's largest organised crime groups - have been arrested during raids in six European countries and in the South American country of Suriname.
Some 140 kilograms of ecstasy pills and 3 000-4 000 kilos of cocaine were seized during the operation, Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said at a press conference in The Hague on Wednesday. Eurojust a European judicial cooperation body - said that among those reported arrested were "high-ranking members of the Mafia network." Authorities in the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg worked together on the operation with the code name ‘Pollino,’ coordinated by the Eurojust from 2016, assisted by Europol. In the biggest operation of its kind to date in Europe, raids took place early Wednesday, spanning locations in those five countries and Suriname. Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) also said raids had been carried out on the Spanish island of Mallorca. Some two million euros (2.3 million dollars) in criminal assets was seized, Eurojust Vice-President Filippo Spiezia said in The Hague. The Ndrangheta controls a network of restaurants and ice cream parlours throughout several European countries, which it uses to launder money and traffic drugs, according to Westerbeke. The Mafia group hails from Calabria, the region that forms the tip of Italy's boot, and has made substantial inroads in European countries. It is considered Europe's leading smuggler of cocaine. DPA