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Gangster Hunt - Police Battle the Mafia

May 23, 2024

Germany is a place where the mafia feels at home - that hasn’t changed. But the police have become more vigilant. Security authorities’ attentions are now focused on the Calabrian mafia in particular, the 'Ndrangheta.

Gangster Hunt - Police Battle the Mafia
A police officer handles money seized during an operation against Ndrangheta.Image: Polizia di Stato/REUTERS

There’s been a noticeable increase in large-scale police operations against the clans from southern Italy in recent years. Although the mafia remains undefeated so far, these operations are an important step in the right direction.

Gangster Hunt - Police Battle the Mafia
The Calabrian mafia in particular, the 'Ndrangheta, has become the focus of the security authorities.Image: MDR

The film documents how the police have honed their tactics against a global criminal organization dominating the cocaine trade, from the first secret operation in Thuringia in 2002 (Operation "Fido"), through "Pollino" (2018) to the major offensive "Eureka" (2023). 

What do investigators in Germany, Italy and at Europol need for a successful battle against the mafia? This is where the judiciary comes into play; in Germany, membership in the mafia isn’t prosecutable without evidence of an actual crime.

Gangster Hunt - Police Battle the Mafia
Authorities across Europe are working together in the fight against the mafia.Image: MDR

But the film also shows the mafia committee of inquiry in Thuringia, where politicians engage with the ‘Ndrangheta phenomenon for the first time - and fail to make any headway. This is because unlike the police, a parliamentary committee of inquiry can’t investigate beyond state borders. Nevertheless, the committee’s work is a crucial factor in also raising public awareness of the mafia problem. And this is important, as Germany is still very much a mafia nation. 'Ndrangheta continues to thrive in a place where laws remain lax, controls are few and society is still relatively blind to the issue.

Broadcasting Hours: 

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SUN 02.06.2024 – 00:02 UTC
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