Police have arrested dozens across Europe as part of a “large-scale” operation against Italy’s notorious ‘Ndrangheta mafia, officials said Wednesday.
authorities in Italy, Germany Belgium is due to provide more details about the raids at separate news conferences later on Wednesday.
Hundreds of officers launched raids in five parts of the country, regional prosecutors said in a statement, adding that operations also took place in Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
Thirty people were arrested in Germany alone as dozens of apartments, houses and offices were searched.
“The suspects are charged with, among other things, money laundering, organized tax evasion, organized fraud and drug trafficking,” the provincial prosecutors said in a joint statement.
The ‘Ndrangheta is the most powerful and wealthy Italian mafia, controlling the bulk of the cocaine flowing into Europe. It operates in more than 40 countries around the world.
It has successfully expanded beyond its traditional areas of drug trafficking and loan sharking, and is now using shell companies and front actors to reinvest ill-gotten gains into the legitimate economy.
detectives in Reggio Calabria in Italy On Wednesday it identified 108 suspects as part of the case, for alleged crimes including mafia affiliation, international drug trafficking and arms trafficking.
A spokesman for the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office said he was fired European investigation They have been working on the case for “four, five years”, in cooperation with other EU countries.
About 20 raids were carried out in Belgium alone.
in North Rhine-WestphaliaThe most populated state in Germany, the police arrested 15 suspects while raiding 51 properties.
In the southern state of Bavaria, police are investigating eight people, of whom four have been arrested.
Another 11 suspects have been arrested in the states of Thuringia and Rhineland-Palatinate, while two wanted men have been arrested in Saarland in Italy.
Based in Calabria, the region that forms the tip of the Italian boot, the ‘Ndrangheta is considered one of the most powerful crime syndicates in the world due to its grip on the cocaine import market.
It has expanded its reach all over the world, and has long overtaken Sicily’s Cosa Nostra as Italy’s largest mafia organization.
Its presence in Germany was confirmed in 2007 when six people were killed outside a pizzeria in Duisburg.
The victims were members of a rival clan killed as part of a long-running feud between families from the Calabrian town of San Luca, home to the Giorgi family.
Late last month, Italian authorities announced the arrest, after nearly five years on the run, of a top ‘Ndrangheta mafia boss who had appeared on a police list of most dangerous criminals.
Pascual Bonavuta, 49, has been wanted since November 2018, after escaping an arrest warrant for murder and mafia issued by a judge in Calabria, southern Italy.
Bonavouta is considered the brainchild of the ‘Ndrangheta Bonavouta clan, which includes his two brothers, based in the Sant’Onofrio district of the province of Calabria in Vibo Valentia.
He has been described as a leader who “made the most important decisions” along with other ‘Ndrangheta chiefs, and who “look after the interests of the association in the Rome region and in the gambling and drug-trafficking sectors”.
Bonavouta’s arrest came three months after the arrest of Sicilian Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro.
The boss of Cosa Nostra has been on the run for 30 years.


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