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Europe

Police launch international crackdown on Italian mafia

Police in Italy, Germany, Canada and Australia have conducted a major cross-border operation targeting the Calabrian mafia, the 'Ndrangheta. In Germany, they arrested a suspected local mafia boss.

Italian police car in city street

Most of the suspects were arrested in Italy

Police in the German city of Frankfurt arrested a suspected senior member of the Italian 'Ndrangheta mafia group on Tuesday, as part of an international raid. The 43-year-old Italian allegedly coordinated the organization's activities in Germany, crime investigators said.

Five further suspects were detained in Konstanz in the south of the country.

Italian police are conducting a major crackdown against the 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate, seeking to arrest a total of 41 people. Five warrants have been issued in Australia and Canada.

Investigators said the international nature of the sweep confirmed how the 'Ndrangheta has in recent years expanded its criminal activities from its traditional base in the southern Italian region of Calabria.

"Not only in international drug trafficking, but also in setting up its mafia organizational structure," said Reggio Calabria chief prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone, whose department heads the investigation that led to Tuesday's arrests. "There exists abroad a perfect reproduction of the Calabrian organization."

The 'Ndrangheta is one of the most powerful and secretive global crime syndicates and plays a key role in the illicit drug market. It made headlines in 2007 when six Italians were killed as they left a restaurant in the western German city of Duisburg in a gangland shooting between feuding clans.

Author: Dagmar Breitenbach (dpa /AFP/ AP)
Editor: Rob Turner

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