At least 90 Ndrangheta mafia members arrested in Europe-wide raids

Mafia raids across Europe target 'Ndrangheta group

Hundreds of police are understood to have been involved in the operation in Belgium, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.

The arrests came following an investigation dubbed Pollino that was launched in 2016 against the Italian mafia over allegations of cocaine trafficking, money laundering, bribery and violence.

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.

The 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate, which comes from Italy's Calabria region, is widely believed to be the most powerful Italian mafia organization, with massive rackets in money laundering and cocaine dealing.

He said over 3,000 kilogrammes of cocaine was seized in the Netherlands along with 140 kilogrammes of ecstasy pills and 2 million Euros in cash.

"One person was also arrested in Suriname, " a Dutch official said.

Officials hailed Wednesday's operation - dubbed "Operation Pollina" - as a serious blow to the group.

Mafia raids across Europe target 'Ndrangheta group
Police arrest 84 suspected mafia members in coordinated raids across four European countries

"It's nearly a cliche, but the operation carried out today confirms again the great danger of the 'ndrangheta, not just in drug trafficking, where it's the undisputed leader, but (also) in the financial sphere", said Francesco Ratta, a top police official in the southern Italian region of Calabria.

But some express caution and said the mafia will continue to pose threat as the group still has resources and is operating across the world.

The European police agency Europol said it was a "decisive hit against one of the most powerful Italian criminal networks in the world". They are accused of committing "serious crimes" including activities linked to worldwide drug trafficking, Italian police said in a statement.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who is Italian, sent "congratulations" to the police forces involved, adding: "Europe fights 'Ndrangheta criminal groups".

On Tuesday, Italian police arrested new Cosa Nostra boss Settimino Mineo and dozens of other suspects in Sicily in a major swoop.

Just under half of the suspects were detained in Italy.

Dutch outlet NOS said that the 'Ndrangheta is known to operate its drug smuggling through the country's vibrant flower-trading industry.

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