Europol has announced the arrests in an international operation with German and Italian authorities, as officers targeted members of the ’Ndrangheta mafia group over allegations of drug trafficking and money laundering.
In a statement on its website, Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, revealed the operation involving 800 police officers and tax officials had led to the arrest of 31 suspects, and identified 65 more who are believed to be part of the ’Ndrangheta mafia.
The operation was run on the ground by Italy’s Anti-Mafia Investigation Directorate (DIA), alongside the Public Prosecutor of Turin and the National Antimafia Bureau, who joined forces with Germany’s Criminal Police of Friedrichshafen, the Economic and Financial Police of Ulm and the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Konstanz.
The organized crime group (OCG) is alleged to have engaged in international drug trafficking using encrypted messaging tools to move cocaine around Europe, as well as money laundering offenses and tax avoidance.
The criminals are accused of having established a series of companies in the building and hospitality sectors to launder their ill-gotten gains, with several hundreds of thousands of euros seized in the police operation, alongside weaponry, luxury goods and drugs.
This is the second significant operation conducted by Europol against the ’Ndrangheta mafia, with a previous raid in December 2018 detaining 84 suspects on similar charges in Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
Europol’s headquarters previously established a coordination center, as part of the Italian DIA Project ONNET, to address organized crime groups across the continent.
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