İrem UZUN -TDO- On Thursday, Italian police said that they have arrested 334 people, including a police colonel and a former MP, in a major operation against Ndrangheta organized crime syndicate. The Ndrangheta is based in the southern region of Calabria, the toe of Italy's boot, and has surpassed Sicily's more famous Cosa Nostra to become the most powerful mafia group in the country - and one of the largest crime gangs in the world.
About 2,500 officers participated in raids centered on the Calabrian city of Vibo Valentia. The suspects were variously held on suspicion of extortion, murder, money laundering and belonging to a mafia organization.Hundreds of suspects were seized in early morning swoops around the country, with some arrests also carried out in Germany, Switzerland and Bulgaria, police said. A former regional official, a mayor, a political party official and a police commander were also among those arrested.
“I have been working on this investigation since I became chief prosecutor in Catanzaro,” said Nicola Gratteri, an anti-mafia prosecutor who led the investigation. Nicola Morra, the president of an anti-mafia parliamentary commission, said “Tonight, the state has once again demonstrated its ability to react by deploying personnel and equipment for a full-frontal attack. From today in Calabria, the air you breathe is better. It is air with the taste of freedom. Today is a beautiful day for legality”.