Home Brussels In mega mafia raid across Europe, cops arrest 100+ suspects

In mega mafia raid across Europe, cops arrest 100+ suspects

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Dozens of people were arrested Wednesday across Europe in a sprawling probe against members of the ‘Ndrangheta, a mafia organization from the southern Italian region of Calabria.

“This is undoubtedly the largest operation ever carried out against the Calabrese mafia in Europe,” a spokesperson for the Belgian federal police said in a press conference, according to Italian newswire ANSA.

13 people were arrested in Belgium as part of the operation, the spokesperson added, on suspicion of being linked to “the cocaine trafficking between South America and Europe and there are sufficient indications to think that the port of Antwerp was used for such trafficking.”

A record 110 tons of cocaine were seized in 2022 at the Antwerp port, considered a major hub for drug trafficking in Europe.

The probe followed a joint investigation by Europol and the EU’s judicial cooperation agency, Eurojust, involving more than 2,770 officers from ten countries’ security forces, Europol said in a statement.

Police swooped in Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Slovenia and Romania in Europe, as well as Brazil and Panama, arresting “132 members of one of the world’s most powerful criminal networks,” the statement said.

The ‘Ndrangheta “is responsible for much of Europe’s cocaine trade, combined with systematic money laundering, bribery, and violence,” it added.

“With today’s coordinated measures across Europe, the law enforcement authorities have dealt a serious blow to the ‘Ndrangheta,” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a separate statement.

“Our aim is to permanently dismantle criminal structures and consistently deprive them of criminal income,” Faeser added.

In Italy, 108 people suspected of participation in a mafia-type association were arrested by Calabria’s regional police on a range of charges, including arms and international drug trafficking, ANSA previously reported.

In Germany, police forces carried out more than 20 arrests in five different regions, raiding dozens of houses, apartments and offices, the police of North Rhine-Westphalia said in a statement.

Some 20 houses were raided in Belgium, the federal public prosecutor’s office said in a statement, adding that the operation targeted “over one hundred alleged members of the Calabrese mafia.”

The ‘Ndrangheta is one of Italy’s most powerful mafia groups, and is listed by Interpol as one of the largest criminal organizations in the world.

This story has been updated.

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