Ninety arrested in international operation against Italian mafia

The Hague: In a major international campaign against the Italian mafia clan ‘Ndrangheta, a total of 90 arrests were made on Wednesday, European judicial cooperation authority Eurojust announced here.

Supported by a coordination centre at Eurojust, judicial and law enforcement authorities from the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Belgium executed the arrests and seizures against ‘Ndrangheta, an organized crime group based in Calabria, Italy, for cocaine trafficking, money laundering, bribery and violence.

The action, code named “Pollino”, was the result of an intensive joint investigation coordinated at European level, Xinhua news agency reported.

A total of 200 million euros ($227 million) of criminal money, as well as 140 kg of ecstasy pills and more than 3,000 kg of cocaine were seized.

“This shows that international crime can be tackled well if we work well together,” said Eurojust Vice-President Filippo Spiezia.

Wil van Gemert, Deputy Director of Europol, said: “This shows the importance of international cooperation and I am convinced this operation will lead to new investigations.”

The operation took place one day after Settimo Mineo, the alleged head or “godfather” of the Sicilian Mafia, Cosa Nostra, was arrested with 46 other people in the Palermo region of Italy, according to the Italian police and anti-Mafia prosecutors in Palermo.

Earlier this year, 170 people in Italy and Germany were arrested in an anti-Mafia swoop.

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

“These arrests are nothing for ‘Ndrangheta. There should be over 1,000 arrests and billions of euros should be seized. The wealth and richness of this organization is enormous.”