Italy's 'Ndrangheta mafia hit by huge international sweep

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Police in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium arrested 84 suspects, which included high-ranking members of the mafia network, according to the agency.

'Judicial and law enforcement authorities from the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Belgium are now executing arrests and seizures against a Ndrangheta criminal group involved in cocaine trafficking, money laundering, bribery and violence, ' European legal cooperation organisation Eurojust said in a statement.

Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) also said raids had been carried out on the Spanish island of Mallorca. They are accused of committing "serious crimes" including activities linked to global drug trafficking, Italian police said in a statement.

Federico Cafiero De Raho, a prosecutor in Italy, told the press conference that every year about 1.5 tons of cocaine are seized in just a single port in Italy, and said that 'Ndrangheta's smuggling operations in other European ports, such as Rotterdam and Antwerp, amount to "tons and tons of cocaine". There should be over 1,000 arrests and billions of euros should be seized.

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.

A total of 200 million euros ($227 million) of criminal money, as well as 140 kg of ecstasy pills and more than 3,000 kg of cocaine were seized.

"Obviously we have not defeated 'Ndrangheta with this operation - 'Ndrangheta is extremely powerful and extremely rich", he said.

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

Wednesday's operation came a day after Italian police arrested the suspected new head of the Sicilian Mafia and 45 other alleged gangsters, dealing a major blow to the mob as it tried to rebuild after years of setbacks.

Mineo, 80, was detained along with at least 45 others just before he was due to be appointed official heir to notorious mafia boss Toto Riina who died in prison previous year.

A 2012 police report showed the Ndrangheta could have as many as a hundred active members in this country.

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