Some 160 people were arrested and more than €50m in mafia assets were seized in Italy and Germany on January 9, Eurojust reported.
Those arrested are suspected of participating in a mafia-type (‘ndrangheta) organised criminal group, attempted murder, extortion, money laundering, firearms-related offences and other crimes.
According to Eurojust, the January 9 operation was the culmination of lengthy and complex investigations, initiated and conducted in Italy by the Reparto Operativo Speciale (ROS) under the leadership of the Procura della Repubblica – Direzione Distrettuale Antimafia (DDA) of Catanzaro.
In Germany, the operation involved several Prosecutor General’s Offices and Prosecution Offices in four German Federal States (Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia), as well as numerous German police authorities, with the support of Eurojust.
As reported by CNBC, prosecutors accused the bosses of driving out all the baking competition in Ciro, Italy, so that residents and restaurants were forced to buy bread from the one mob-controlled bakery in town. And they said that Italian restaurants in Germany, meanwhile, were forced to import Italian wine, olive oil and other goods from a clan-controlled Italian restaurant association.
“They controlled all the economic activity in entire towns,” Prosecutor Nicola Gratteri told a press conference. “It concerned all commercial activity, and obviously political power as well.”
Carabinieri police said “dozens” of public administration officials were among the 169 people arrested. Among those arrested is the president of Crotone province, Nicodemo Parrilla, in the Calabria region of Italy, BBC News reports.
Grattari called the arrests the most important step taken against the ‘ndrangehta in the last 20 years.
In Germany, the federal criminal police office said 11 people were arrested in western Germany, accused of blackmail and money-laundering. The arrests took place in the states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Hesse, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia.
“The detentions and seizures are an important success against the infiltration of mafia structures and methods in our economy,” German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said. “We will not allow criminal organisations like the ‘ndrangheta to use Germany… and do their criminal business here.”