Law enforcement agencies from Italy, Belgium, and Germany conducted joint operations on June 5th to combat the Italian mob's illicit activities involving money laundering and drug trafficking.
The operation resulted in the arrest of 31 individuals associated with the 'Ndrangheta, a notorious organized crime group. Europol revealed that the mob used its well-established network to transport mainly cocaine from South America to Germany and Italy through various European ports. The criminal organization established businesses in Germany to facilitate drug smuggling and utilized international companies in the automotive and food trading sectors to camouflage their illicit activities.
During the coordinated action, a total of 31 suspects were apprehended, with 18 arrests made in Italy, 8 in Belgium, and 5 in Germany. Law enforcement agencies executed 53 search operations, leading to the seizure of assets worth over €3.8 million, including cash, drugs, high-value vehicles, and properties. The case originated from an investigation conducted by Italian authorities between 2013 and 2018, and Eurojust, in collaboration with the Italian and German authorities, established a joint investigation team (JIT) in February 2020, which was later extended to include Belgium in March 2021.
Europol played a crucial role in supporting the investigation by providing intelligence development and analysis, facilitating real-time coordination among all involved partners. Two Europol officers were deployed in Belgium and Italy to ensure swift tactical decisions and adjustments to the operation strategy. The operation is part of EMPACT Operational Action 2.3, focusing on combating the 'Ndrangheta and the Sicilian mafia, with Europol and Eurojust co-leading the initiative. The investigation was supported by the ON Network, funded by the EU's Project ISF4@ON and led by the Italian Antimafia Investigation Directorate.
The law enforcement authorities involved in the investigation include the Public Prosecutor's Office Catanzaro and Guardia di Finanza from Italy, the Federal PPO, Investigating judge at the court of first instance in Liège, and Federal Judicial Police Liège from Belgium, as well as the Police Frankfurt am Main from Germany.
By fLEXI tEAM