More than 100 'Ndrangheta mafia mobsters' are arrested in raids
More than 100 ‘Ndrangheta mafia mobsters and associates’ are arrested in raids across Europe, with huge piles of cash, drugs and firearms seized
- In Germany, more than 1,000 officers raided dozens of homes, offices and stores
- In Italy, officers arrested 108 people believed to be ‘Ndrangheta mafia mobsters
Police arrested more than 100 suspected mobsters thought to belong to the notorious ‘Ndrangheta mafia across Europe in the early hours of this morning in a huge crackdown on the feared Italian crime syndicate.
Under the cover of darkness, thousands of police officers across Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Portugal and Spain raided the suspected mobsters’ homes as part of an investigation codenamed ‘Operation Eureka’.
In Germany, more than 1,000 officers searched dozens of homes, offices and stores in the states of Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia, prosecutors said in a joint statement.
In Italy, carabinieri police backed by helicopters served arrest warrants on 108 people who were accused, among other things, of mafia criminal association; possession, production, and trafficking of drugs and weapons; and money laundering.
European authorities have been waging a campaign against the Calabria-based ‘ndrangheta, arguably the world’s richest organized crime group, in recent years.
The group has exploited tens of billions of dollars in cocaine revenues over decades to extend its criminal reach across Europe and into several continents as the Sicilian Mafia lost influence.
A police officer gets into a car with a suspected Mafia bombster following his arrest on Wednesday in Hagen, Germany
Seized money is displayed in an unknown location following an operation of the Carabinieri del Ros and the Provincial Command of Reggio Calabria in Italy on Wednesday
Police arrested more than 100 suspects and raided homes early Wednesday across Italy and Germany. Pictured: Guns seized during the raid on Wednesday
Over 30 suspects who had outstanding warrants were arrested in Germany.
The suspects are accused of money laundering, gang tax evasion, commercial gang fraud, and narcotics smuggling, a statement from the German state office of criminal investigation in North Rhine-Westphalia said.
The raids are part of a wider joint investigation involving Europol and also included simultaneous measures against the group across Europe, the statement said.
A press release from carabinieri in Regio Calabria, where the ‘ndrangheta is based, said arrest warrants were also served in Belgium, France, Portugal, Romania and Spain.
Press conferences in Italy and Germany were planned for later Wednesday.
In Germany, the main focus of the operation was in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, with around 500 officers deployed in each state.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, 51 houses, apartments, offices and business premises were searched and 15 suspects were arrested.
The suspects are accused of money laundering, criminal tax evasion, fraud and the smuggling of drugs, mafia-type criminal association, and the possession and trafficking of weapons. Pictured: Seized guns from the raid
European authorities have been waging a campaign against the Calabria-based ‘ndrangheta, arguably the world’s richest organized crime group, in recent years. Pictured: Seized guns
Police arrested more than 100 suspects and raided homes early Wednesday across Germany and Italy. Pictured: Seized money
State police in Bavaria said the arrests were the result of more than three years of an investigation dubbed ‘Operation Eureka’. Pictured: Seized money
The ‘Ndrangheta, which has its roots in the southern region of Calabria, the toe of Italy’s boot, has surpassed Cosa Nostra as the most powerful mafia group in the country, and one of the largest criminal networks in the world. Pictured: Piles of money were seized in the raid
In Rhineland-Palatinate, police searched 50 premises and arrested 10 suspects. The task forces in Rhineland-Palatinate were supported by special units of the federal government and other states as well as customs and the tax investigation department, German news agency dpa reported.
The state interior minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Michael Ebling, called the raids an ‘effective blow’ against organized crime.
‘Today sends out a very clear signal: There is no place for organized crime in Europe and there is certainly no place for it here with us in Rhineland-Palatinate,’ he said, according to dpa.
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