Major arrest of the Ndrangheta mafia clan, more than 200 people detained

Most were arrested in the Italian city of San Luca, where the headquarters of part of this clan is located

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

The police of several European countries, Brazil and Panama, on Wednesday morning carried out an operation to arrest members of the Italian mafia clan 'Ndrangheta.

The international operation Eureka was led by Germany, and was preceded by a four-year investigation conducted in strict secrecy.

During the operation, around two hundred people suspected of cocaine smuggling, money laundering and tax crimes were arrested.

Most of them were arrested in the Italian city of San Luca, where the headquarters of part of this clan is located.

According to some information, 108 people have been arrested, and another 15 are in Genoa, in northwestern Italy.

Dozens of people were detained in western Germany, where the Ndrangheta, according to police, has a large money-laundering center.

The police of Italy, Belgium, France, Spain, Romania, Brazil and Panama, as well as agents of Europol, participated in Operation Eureka.

The 'Ndrangheta is a large Italian organized crime group whose center is located in the province of Calabria.

It is not as well known as the Sicilian Cosa Nostra or the Neapolitan Camorra, but it is considered one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the world.

They are present in a large part of Europe, and have also spread to the United States of America, Mexico and Latin America.

On Wednesday morning, police officers in different countries made synchronized raids on the homes and offices of the suspects.

How the pandemic accelerated the exposure of the mafia

In Germany alone, about a thousand policemen and intelligence agents took part in the action.

AFP

From October 2019 to January 2022, the Ndrangheta clan distributed about 25 tons of cocaine from Latin America to Europe, according to the police of the German state of Bavaria, who worked closely with colleagues from Italy and Belgium.

Most of the drugs were brought to Belgium and the Netherlands by cargo ships.

It was also established that part of the cocaine was then sent to Australia.

The investigation also showed that during the same period, the mafia organization laundered more than 22 million dollars in Europe, mainly through chains of pizzerias, cafes and ice cream shops, most of which were located in the western parts of Germany.

Police became suspicious when a group of Italian nationals came to the attention of Bavarian police in July 2020.

A secret investigation found that they were connected to cocaine smuggling in Germany and involved in illegal financial transactions.

A similar scheme was discovered in Belgium, and the police managed to discover the connection of these people with the Calabrian 'Ndrangeta.

The main role in uncovering the mafia was played by the fact that they managed to penetrate the mobile phone communication of criminals, equipped with special crypto protection, according to the police.

The 'Ndrangheta is known for the fact that its members have never used mobile communication to solve business problems.

They preferred to travel hundreds of kilometers to meet each other in person.

However, the corona virus pandemic forced them to resort to mobile phones, which significantly accelerated their capture.


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