Joint investigative teams involving police in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium are targeting members of the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta mafia, Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Agency and Italy’s Polizia di Stato confirmed after several media outlets had reported the story. Around 90 arrests were made.
In Germany, the raids – which are part of Operation Pollino – are focused on the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the mafia has traditionally had a large presence. There were also raids in Bavaria, Thuringia and Berlin. The raids follow years of investigative work, which also involved officers from Switzerland. The raids are being coordinated by the EU’s Judicial Cooperation Unit, Eurojust.
The investigation also involved operations in Suriname and parts of South America.
In Germany, it’s the biggest police operation against a mafia clan by German police on German soil, Der Spiegel news magazine reported. Germany’s counter-terrorism unit GSG9 is also involved in the operation. Around 100 locations were raided, among them pizza restaurants, German daily Bild reports.
‘Ndrangheta — the most powerful clan
The ‘Ndrangheta is seen as the most powerful Italian mafia organization, and a leading force in money laundering and the cocaine trade. The reports suggest that the raids are aimed at the Mammoliti and Giorgi families, who are part of the crime syndicate.
The ‘Ndrangheta was also involved in the 2007 Duisburg murders, where six people were killed. The killings are linked to a longrunning feud between the two ‘Ndrangheta families Nirta-Strangio and Pelle-Vottari.
On Tuesday, Italian police arrested an alleged Sicilian mafia boss, Settimino Mineo, believed to be the new head of the Cosa Nostra clan.