More than 330 people, including politicians, lawyers, accountants and a local police chief, were arrested by Italian police Thursday in a bust of Italy’s most notorious mafia group, which is known as ’Ndrangheta.
Around 3,000 officers made arrests in 12 Italian regions, as well as in Switzerland, Germany and Bulgaria, according to Italian officials.
The group, which has been Italy’s most powerful crime syndicate since the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, controls much of Europe’s illegal cocaine trade.
Nicola Gratteri, the anti-mafia prosecutor who organized the crackdown, also noted that the bust “completely dismembered the top ranks of the Mancuso family,” an ’Ndrangheta group that operates in the Italian city of Vibo Valentia and has links to the Colombia, the Caribbean and the USA.
The arrested individuals face several charges, including being involved in a crime syndicate, murder, extortion, usury, money laundering, drug trafficking and corruption.
The crackdown was scheduled for Friday but was carried out on Thursday instead after investigators found out that someone had warned the mobsters and their associates about the operation.
However, despite the success of the operation, Gratteri warned that “you don’t resolve the problem of the mafia with overnight blitzes,” adding that now it’s “up to civil society to occupy the spaces that we created today. Otherwise we’re back to square one, and criminals will reoccupy those spaces.”
As long as unprotected cruise ships are being used to spread and transport the drugs from Colombia through the Caribbean into the billion dollar consumer markets of Europe and the USA, there is no way of stopping the lucrative hard drugs trade.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2019.