Police swoop on mafia suspects across Europe

Cheryl Sanders
December 6, 2018

Police in Europe and in South America have arrested at least 84 suspected mobsters in a massive global crackdown targeting a powerful branch of Italy's notorious mafia, officials said.

A total of 84 suspects were arrested as police in Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg raided the homes of suspected mafia bosses and searched restaurants and other businesses in the early hours of the morning.

The crackdown on the powerful organised crime syndicate based in Calabria, southern Italy, came just a day after Italian police arrested the new boss of the Cosa Nostra Sicilian mafia and dozens of other suspects in a major operation.

At least 90 people were arrested, and more than three tonnes of cocaine and 140kg of ecstasy were seized. They are accused of committing "serious crimes" including activities linked to worldwide drug trafficking, Italian police said in a statement.


German federal police said in a statement on December 5 that there had been multiple arrests in the early morning raids on premises linked to the 'Ndrangheta, a southern Italy-based organized crime group.

The Mafia group hails from Calabria, the region that forms the tip of Italy's boot, and has made substantial inroads in European countries.

"Today, we send a clear message to organised crime groups across Europe", Filippo Spiezia, vice president of the EU's judicial agency Eurojust, told reporters in The Hague.

As well as arresting dozens of suspected mobsters in Italy, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, police seized drugs and around 2 million euros ($2.3 million). Most raids took place in the western state of North Rhine Westphalia, but also in the south, in Bavaria.


The European police agency Europol said it was a "decisive hit against one of the most powerful Italian criminal networks in the world".

Italian anti-mafia prosecutor Federico Cafiero De Raho said the operations would affect the 'Ndrangheta's drug trafficking operations around the world, including in Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil.

Italian police arrested Settimo Mineo, 80, Tuesday, who authorities believe to be the lead Mafia boss who replaced the late Salvatore Riina.

Five suspects were arrested in the Netherlands, where prosecutors got the ball rolling for the investigation in 2014 with probes into two Italian restaurants, and more suspects were detained just over the border in Belgium.


Dutch NOS television said the 'Ndrangheta were mainly active in the Netherlands in drug smuggling through the country's huge flower export market.

Other reports by iNewsToday

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