A 'major' operation against the Georgian mafia netted European police at least 69 suspects, with arrests made in six European countries.
The operation targets money launderers and drug traffickers
In a European operation coordinated by Spanish anti-corruption prosecutors, police arrested 24 alleged Georgian mafia members in Spain and 45 in Germany, Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland on Monday. Spanish police described it as a "major" operation that was "ongoing."
Those detained were held on charges of drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering, extortion and conspiracy to murder.
"The arrest of the criminal organization's heads deals a harsh blow to Georgian criminality in Europe," said a statement from the Swiss prosecutor's office.
According to the statement, Swiss authorities began investigation of "certain people of east European origin, mainy Georgians and Russians," in April 2009 and cooperated with other European police for months ahead of Monday's raids.
The gang was "a perfectly structured and extremely hierarchical international criminal organization, controlled from Spain," the prosecutor said.
Editor: Susan Houlton
The European project has not failed, but the crisis in the eurozone will only come to an end once the EU decides what it wants to be, writes Brando Benifei, a member of the European Parliament.
After years of crisis, the EU is well aware of the flaws in the eurozone and European foreign policy. But it’s lacking the strength to fix them, writes guest contributor Martin Winter.
A Bosnian Muslim wartime commander who defended Srebrenica against separatist Serbian forces has been indicted for alleged war crimes. He is accused of murdering ethnic Serbs during Bosnia's 1992-1995 conflict.
After five record years in a row, the number of tourists in Dresden has dropped for the first time this year. Cultural events can contribute to attracting more tourists - but xenophobia obviously doesn't.