Dutch police raid 'dozens' of homes in European mafia crackdown

Policemen raid an ice cafe in Duisburg western Germany on December 5

Scores of members of the 'Ndrangheta Italian mafia group have been arrested in raids across Europe.

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

Masked police stand in an ice cream parlour in Duisburg, western Germany, as authorities conduct coordinated raids in Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands in a crackdown on the Italian mafia.

The 'Ndrangheta, centered in the Calabria region, is one of Italy's three main organised crime groups, along with the Camorra, which is based in the Naples area, and Sicily's Cosa Nostra, commonly known as the Mafia.

He said that fighting organized crime across state lines "requires judicial instruments like the ones used in this occasion in Europe, which allowed us to coordinate our regulations, and enabled us to counter 'Ndrangheta".

The operation's success sent a "clear message to organized crime groups across Europe", Spiezia said. On Tuesday, Italian authorities said they had dismantled the rebuilt upper echelons of the Mafia in the Sicilian capital of Palermo by arresting 46 people, including the man presumed to have taken over as provincial kingpin. Cocaine and ecstasy pills also were seized in Wednesday's raids.

Ndrangheta is a mafia organisation from the south of Italy which has extended its influence to many other countries.

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"They are in charge of drug trafficking in Germany, and they launder money by reinvesting it in legitimate businesses like restaurants", said Christian Hoppe, chief criminal director of Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office.

Mr De Raho said the arrests "are nothing for 'Ndrangheta". There should be over 1,000 arrests and billions of euros should be seized.

The raids are the culmination of an investigation codenamed Pollino, that started in 2016.

"This is just a small step", said Federico Cafiero De Raho, the Italian National Anti-mafia and Anti-terrorism Prosecutor during the press conference.

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.

Eurojust said those arrested Wednesday included "high-ranking members of the Mafia network", but didn't release their names.

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