Mafia raids across Europe target ‘Ndrangheta group

Scores of suspected members of Italy’s ‘Ndrangheta mafia have been arrested in coordinated raids across Europe.

Police swooped just a day after the alleged “godfather” of the Sicilian mafia was arrested, along with 45 other suspected mobsters.

Early-morning raids took place in Italy, the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, as well as in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Italian police said 90 people had so far been detained.

Settimino Mineo (C), jeweller and new head of the Sicilian mafia, is escorted by carabinieri as he exits a police station after his arrest, in Palermo
Settimino Mineo was arrested in Sicilian capital Palermo

The suspected mafioso are believed to be involved in cocaine trafficking, money laundering, violence and bribery, said Eurojust, the EU agency that coordinates cross-border crime fighting.

The arrests were the culmination of an investigation codenamed Pollino that started in 2016.

The ‘Ndrangheta – whose heartland is the southern Calabria region – is one of the three main mafia groups in Italy, along with the Sicilian mafia and the Camorra.

It is the only mafia organisation operating on all continents, say prosecutors, and is believed to now be the most influential Italian organised-crime group.

A news conference on the arrests is due later in The Hague.

On Tuesday, the man accused of being the head of the Sicilian mafia, Settimo Mineo, an 80-year-old jeweller, was pictured being led away as police on the Italian island scooped up dozens of other suspected mafia members.

The country’s deputy prime minister, Luigi di Maio, said the arrests were “one of the biggest blows inflicted on the mafia by the state”.

He added: “Mineo had been elected ‘heir’ of Toto Riina [former Cosa Nostra boss] after his death. There is no more room for this type of scum in Italy.”

Prime Minister Matteo Salvini called the arrests “extraordinary” and tweeted that the police had “dismantled the new ‘dome’ of the Cosa Nostra”.

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