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Italy: Police arrest over 100 mafia members in mass raid

Sami Behbehani
May 14, 2024

The Calabrian 'Ndrangeta is known to be one of the most powerful crime organizations in the world. But now Italian authorities are trying to loosen its grip.

Carabinieri car in Italy
Carabinieri and other law enforcement agencies spearheaded the operation leading to 109 arrests of 'Ndrangheta membersImage: Federico ChiccoDodiFC/Pond5/IMAGO

Italian police detained 109 suspected members of the 'Ndrangheta mafia in the Calabrian city of Cosenza on Tuesday.

A coalition of Italian law enforcement agencies targeted local members of Lanzino-Patitucci and Zingari clan as well as a customs and financial police officer. 

Police operations against the 'Ndrangheta

The raid was headed by anti-mafia prosecutors, with Carabinieri special police, as well as federal and local officers and the economic crimes unit involved. 

According to authorities, those arrested are suspected of drug trafficking, mafia association and extortion of shopkeepers and business people in the Cosenza area. 

Special operations against 'Ndrangheta members in the past have ended in the conviction of around 200 mobsters — including lengthy jail sentences for high ranking bosses.  Charges ranged from drug trafficking to extortion and theft.

How Europe became addicted to cocaine

The role of the 'Ndrangheta mafia in Europe's drug trade

Italian police have earlier estimated that the 'Ndrangheta may control up to 80% of Europe's cocaine market.  

The drugs are primarily shipped from Latin America via containers carrying food and timber. Mafia-owned companies then take delivery of the shipments. 

Germany serves as a money laundering hub for the 'Ndrangheta.  Authorities there arrested more than 30 members in a raid in 2023

Italy, Germany carry out large raids against 'Ndrangheta

Material from AFP contributed to this report

Edited by: Rob Turner