Police Arrest 169 People in Anti-Mafia Raids

169 arrests were made this week by Italian and German police in an ‘anti-mafia swoop’, according to officials.

The operation targeted members of the ‘Ndrangheta organized crime group, carrying out organized raids at several locations across Italy and Germany. Over 50 million euros worth of assets have been seized, although no further details were given on what these assets were. Focusing specifically on the Farao-Marincola gang, one of the strongest of its kind in the area, police were hoping to bring an end to a reign of terror. The group forced German restaurants to buy their dough, wine, and other items from southern Italy and were currently trying to expand their grip to other parts of Europe, including Switzerland.

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According to the BBC, among those arrested was Nicodemo Parrilla, president of the Province of Crotone in Italy’s Calabria region. There has been no further information released regarding Parrilla’s involvement in the investigation, but he is considered locally to be one of the major representatives of the gang.  As well as Parrilla, several other political figures were arrested, including three mayors of Crotone.

While the ‘Ndrangheta isn’t as famous as the Sicilian Mafia, they gained a considerable amount of power in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Their business reaches through narcotics, trafficking, extortion, and money laundering. According to a 2013 research initiative called “Threat of Assessment on Italian Organised Crime” by Europol, the ‘Ndrangheta is one of the world’s most powerful and financially lucrative crime syndicates.

Italian lawyer and prosecutor running the investigation, Nicola Grattari, made a statement praising the efficiency of the raids and claiming it as the most important action taken against the ‘Ndrangheta in at least twenty years. Time will only tell if the arrests will make a significant impact on the level of control organised crime syndicates continue to have on businesses across the world.

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