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A massive police raid targeting the ‘Ndranghetta mafia across Europe – Liberation

A massive police raid targeting the ‘Ndranghetta mafia across Europe – Liberation

A wide-ranging police operation coordinated by the European police agency Europol and the European judicial authority Eurojust is underway in Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain this morning, May 3. It targets the Calabrian mafia ‘Entrangetta’, suspected of large-scale cocaine trafficking.

A wide-ranging police operation targeting the Calabrian mafia ‘Ndrangheta was launched this Wednesday, May 3 morning in several European countries, where searches and arrests were carried out. Dubbed “Eureka,” the operation is being carried out by thousands of police officers in Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia and Romania. But also on the other side of the Atlantic: Step Frankfurter Allgemeine ZeitungPolice operations will also be carried out in Brazil and Panama.

According to the German newspaper, 130 people have already been arrested, including 105 in Italy. The geographic epicenter of the case: the Calabrian village of San Luca, where most of the suspects are believed to have come from. According to the radio MittelDeutscher Rundfunk, The area, home to 3,400 people, has been under siege since Wednesday morning, and heavily armed special forces and carabinieri have been deployed.

The Belgian park emphasized the scope of the wider operation this Wednesday morning “More than a hundred suspected members of the Calabrian mafia”, It noted that about twenty searches were conducted in Belgium. By the end of Wednesday morning, 25 searches had been carried out mainly in the Dutch-speaking north, the Belgian prosecutor’s office added. Thirteen people were arrested in Belgium, six of whom were targeted by a European arrest warrant issued by Italian courts. This is “Massive European Activity” Arranged in part“File opened by the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office”, The European agencies Europol and Eurojust, in cooperation with the Belgian judicial police, withdrew the case.

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1,000 agents are employed in Germany

In part hundreds of German police intervened in the country’s five regions “Massive European Activity” Who intended Leaders and members of the “Ndrangheta”., several regional prosecutors, including Munich, said in a statement. In the country, the main regions where the surgery takes place are North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Thuringia. More than 1,000 police officers have been deployed across Germany, including special forces. According to a press release from the German Interior Ministry, the investigation is related to crimes “Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering, Arms Trafficking, Fraud” as well as “Various Large Scale Tax Offenses”.

So far, more than a hundred searches have been conducted across the country, particularly in residential and commercial areas. Thirty arrest warrants have been executed, including four European warrants, according to authorities in the Länder of Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. It is in these areas of western and southern Germany that police interventions are concentrated. In North Rhine-Westphalia alone, around 500 officers searched 51 houses, apartments, offices and business premises belonging to the suspects and executed 15 arrest warrants. Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann described the move A significant blow to “Natrangetha”.

Cocaine smuggling and encrypted telephones

According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung And Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, Operation Eureka was said to have been launched almost four years ago. It targets international cocaine trafficking, transported from South America by container ship to ports in Calabria such as Antwerp, Rotterdam or Gioia Taro. To launder the drug money, the suspects allegedly invested in restaurants, real estate and car washes, mainly in Germany, Belgium, Portugal and Argentina.

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In particular, the investigation would have experienced a boost when investigators had access to conversations from encrypted cellphones. Used the now defunct software Engrosat and SkyECC. MTR and the FAZThis is the first time that such encrypted cell phones have played such a significant role in an international anti-mafia operation.

Operation Eureka “One of the most important and significant in recent years in the field of organized crime in Italy”, Underlines the Bavarian police. As part of these investigations, Italian and Belgian authorities were able to attribute ‘Natrangetha’ to the importation and trafficking of nearly 25 tonnes of cocaine between October 2019 and January 2022. More than 22 million euros in financial flows from Calabria to Belgium, the Netherlands and South America have been identified.

Update 11.15 am with details from the Belgian public prosecutor’s office.