Mafia raids: Police in Italy and Germany make 169 arrests

Mafia raids: Police in Italy and Germany make 169 arrests

In the biggest crackdown in two decades, police in Italy and Germany have issued arrest warrants for 169 mafia suspects they accuse of running a criminal empire ranging from vineyards and ports to bakeries, toxic waste disposal and funeral homes. Italy's paramilitary Carabinieri police said the arrests had dismantled a major clan of the feared 'Ndrangheta crime group.

The German branch of the mob would have forced Italian restaurants in Stuttgart to buy all of their supplies from companies linked to the clan, according to investigators. "It concerned all commercial activity, and obviously political power as well".

According to a 2013 "Threat Assessment on Italian Organised Crime" report by Europol, the 'Ndrangheta is one of the world's most powerful organised crime groups and is believed to now operate across Europe, South America, Africa, North America and Oceania.

The operation stemmed from an investigation into the activities of the Farao-Marincola clan.

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The 'Ndrangheta network is based in southern Italy but has expanded its reach into the rest of Europe, the BBC's James Reynolds reports from Rome.

Some were arrested on suspicion of blackmail, attempted murder, money laundering and other organised crime offences.

In Germany, the operation involved several Prosecutor General's Offices and Prosecution Offices in four German Federal States (Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia), as well as numerous German police authorities, with the support of Eurojust.

Grattari called the arrests the most important step taken against the 'ndrangehta in the last 20 years. "We will not allow criminal organizations like the 'ndrangheta to use Germany. and do their criminal business here".

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