An international joint action day in Italy and Germany on January 9 resulted in 160 arrests, according to a Eurojust press release. And more are expected to be apprehended.
According to Eurojust, they are all suspected of participation in a mafia-type (‘ndrangheta) organised criminal group, attempted murder, extortion, money laundering, firearms-related offences and other crimes.
The January 9 operation was the culmination of 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.
In its press release, Eurojust said the investigation revealed that a local cell of the ‘ndrangheta (a so-called ‘locale’), based in Cirò (Crotone, Italy), owned and used several businesses in Italy, including companies producing wine, oil, bread and dairy products, as front companies to launder illicit profits obtained through a wide range of criminal activities.
In related news, CBS noted that prosecutors accused the bosses of driving out all the baking competition in Ciro 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.
Gratteri called the arrests the most important step taken against the ‘ndrangehta in the last 20 years.