Scores arrested in crackdown on Italian cocaine-trafficking gang


Scores of people on Wednesday were arrested in Italy and other European countries in a raid on the ‘Ndrangheta cocaine-trafficking group that officials said was the largest sweep of its kind.
Italian police and Eurojust, the European agency that oversees judicial cooperation in crime investigations, said those arrested were suspected of drug trafficking, money laundering, bribery and violence.
“The arrests include high level members of the ‘Ndrangheta,’’ Dutch Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said.
Report says the group runs its global operations from a base in southern Italy.
“The group controls a substantial amount of the European cocaine traffic,’’ Westerbeke said, speaking at a news conference at Eurojust headquarters in The Hague.
He said over 3,000 kilogrammes of cocaine was seized in the Netherlands along with 140 kilogrammes of ecstasy pills and 2 million Euros in cash.
By noon there were 41 arrests in Italy, 21 in Germany, 14 in Belgium, five in the Netherlands, and two in Luxembourg, according to European police agency Europol.
“One person was also arrested in Suriname,’’ a Dutch official said.
The ‘Ndrangheta, centered in the Calabria region, is one of Italy’s three main organised crime groups, along with the Camorra, which is based in the Naples area, and Sicily’s Cosa Nostra, commonly known as the Mafia.
“This is not just happening in Italy, it is happening on other countries,” Italian anti-mafia prosecutor Federico Cafiero De Raho warned and said Wednesday’s operation was just a “first step.”
He said that groups of the ‘Ndrangheta and its allies had infiltrated ports around Europe to ease drug smuggling, and have “polluted” lawyers and accountants in numerous countries on their payrolls.
“If we do not cooperate, the ‘Ndrangheta and its allies will continue to carry out criminal infiltration of regular society, the proper market,” De Raho said.
Wednesday’s operation came a day after Italian police arrested the suspected new head of the Sicilian mafia and 45 other alleged gangsters, dealing a major blow to the mob as it tried to rebuild after years of setbacks.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.