Masked police stand in an ice parlor in Duisburg, western Germany, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 as authorities conduct coordinated raids in Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands in a crackdown on the Italian mafia.
Early-morning raids took place in Italy, the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, as well as in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Officials speak at a press conference detailing 'Operation Pollino, ' a coordinated effort to fight organized crime in Europe, in The Hague, Netherlands, on December 5, 2018.
"Today, we send a clear message to organised crime groups across Europe", Filippo Spiezia, vice-president of the EU's judicial agency Eurojust, told reporters in The Hague.
He said the "unprecedented and extraordinary result", the fruit of a two-year operation, targeted "dangerous members of the 'Ndrangheta family deeply involved in drug trafficking and money laundering".More news: Shaheen strikes early in New Zealand’s second innings
Authorities on Wednesday arrested suspected members of the Italian Mafia 'Ndrangheta across Europe on the heels of a sweep of accused mobsters.
Italy's anti-mafia prosecutor Federico Cafiero De Raho said Wednesday's operation was just a "first step" and the group had not yet been defeated.
A spokesman for the Dutch public prosecution department refused to give any more information, the AD said, adding that the raids in the Netherlands involve "dozens" of locations.
The group surpassed Sicily's Cosa Nostra and the Naples-based Camorra groups, according to AFP, due to its tight on the control of cocaine trade.
"They are in charge of drug trafficking in Germany, and they launder money by reinvesting it in legitimate businesses like restaurants", said Christian Hoppe, chief criminal director of Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office.More news: Doug Baldwin happy Seahawks paid tribute to Richard Sherman in TD celebration
Two people were also arrested in Luxembourg, and one in Suriname.
The Belgian operations were concentrated on the Limburg area, home to many people of Italian descent who moved there after World War II to work in coal mines, Belgian prosecutors said.
Wednesday's raids come a day after the new suspected head of the Cosa Nostra and 45 other alleged gangsters were arrested.
European police agency Europol called it a "decisive hit against one of the most powerful Italian criminal networks in the world".
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. 80-year-old jeweller, Settimo Mineo, was detained in a dawn raid in Palermo.More news: 1st baby born using uterus transplanted from deceased donor
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