Police Crack Down on ‘Ndrangheta Mafia across EU, Seize 4 Tons of Cocaine
Operation Pollino has become the largest police operation against a mafia clan ever carried out in Germany.
Some 90 people have been arrested and over four metric tons of cocaine have been seized in a large-scale police crackdown of the infamous ‘Ndrangheta, the Calabrian mafia in Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.
The ‘Ndrangheta is known to be massively involved in the cocaine trafficking and distribution across Europe.
The raids against the Calabria mafia in four EU states are codenamed Operation Pollino, which has been coordinated by the EU’s Judicial Cooperation Unit, Eurojust.
It also involved investigative officers from Switzerland and operations in Suriname in South America.
The police raids against the ‘Ndrangheta in Germany were carried out in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and in Bavaria in the south, DW reports.
With over 65 locations raided and 440 police officers involved, Operation Pollino is the largest police operation against a mafia clan to have ever been carried out on German soil, according to Der Spiegel magazine.
A total of 14 suspects were arrested, and nearly 500 kilograms of cocaine were seized in Germany alone, the Federal Criminal Police Agency (BKA) in Wiesbaden announced.
The detainees include a 45-year-old Italian owner of a popular local restaurant who was arrested at his home in the town of Pulheim, near Cologne.
The German investigators believe the ‘Ndrangheta bought restaurants and other real estate properties throughout Germany in order to launder its drug money.
The ‘Ndrangheta is deemed to be the most powerful Italian mafia organization, mightier even than Sicily’s Cosa Nostra and Naples’ Camorra.
Operation Pollino targeted in particular the Mammoliti and Giorgi families from the ‘Ndrangheta.
“We should be arresting thousands…their wealth is enormous,” Italian prosecutor Federico Cafiero de Raho told reporters on Monday
He said the investigation into the ‘Ndrangheta would likely be ongoing, and the police raids across the EU were “nothing to them.”
“They are invisible,” Cafiero de Raho added elaborating that Calabrian mafia clan’s methods were highly sophisticated.
They constantly buy and sell restaurants, cafés and other venues used for money laundering, and often involve respectable figures such as lawyers and accountants in their operations.
Back in 2007, the ‘Ndrangheta was also involved in the so called Duisburg murders in which six people were killed in a feud between two its families, Nirta-Strangio and Pelle-Vottari.
(Banner image: Italian police on Twitter)