[Italy], Dec 6 (ANI): As many as 90 people were on Wednesday arrested by authorities across Europe in a major crackdown against organised crime targeting members of the Italy-based 'Ndrangheta group.
A statement from the Italian group confirmed that raids have been conducted in Italy, Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands in Europe and several locations in South America, including Suriname, CNN reported. Charges including international drug trafficking, Mafia association, money laundering, and real estate fraud have been levelled against those arrested.
The operations took place a day after Settimo Mineo, the alleged 'godfather' of the Sicilian Mafia - Cosa Nostra, was arrested along with 46 other people in Italy's Palermo. A number of Mafia-related charges were levelled on the members of Cosa Nostra, Italian police and Palermo-based anti-Mafia prosecutors confirmed.
Italian police said that Mineo was elected as the new 'Godfather' of Cosa Nostra at a summit, held for the first time since 1993 after former chief Toto Riina died in jail in 2017.
The operations on Wednesday were coordinated by the European Agency (EU) Eurojust. A statement from Eurojust, which supports judicial coordination between EU members, said that the operation was the "biggest of its kind to date in Europe".
The anti-Mafia operation involved hundreds of policemen and joint-investigative efforts from 2016.
"This aggressive, mafia-style organised criminal group is one of the most powerful criminal networks in the world, and controls much of Europe's cocaine trade, combined with systematic money laundering, bribery and violent acts," the Eurojust statement read.
The statement added that investigators have detected as much as 4000 kilograms of cocaine and hundreds of kilograms of other drugs. Assets to the tune of two million Euros are expected to be seized.
"Today, we send a clear message to organised crime groups across Europe. They are not the only ones able to operate across borders; so are Europe's judiciary and law enforcement communities," vice-president of Eurojust, and national member of Italy, Filippo Spiezia said.
Meanwhile, president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani congratulated the law enforcement authorities in his message via Twitter.
"Europe fights 'Ndrangheta criminal groups. A Eurojust coordinated operation led to arresting over 90 people involved in drug trafficking & money laundering," Tajani tweeted.
Earlier this year, as many as 170 people were arrested in Italy and Germany in anti-mafia operations. (ANI)