Italian police arrest hundreds in anti-Mafia raids

Dawn raids across the country against the powerful Calabrian 'Ndrangheta crime gangs saw at least 320 arrested.

Italian Elio Amato (C) pictured during his arrest by Italian police on in Naples. Amato was on the country's list of 100 most dangerous wanted criminals.
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ROME // Police arrested at least 320 people today in dawn raids across the country against the powerful Calabrian mafia, one of the biggest crackdowns on organised crime in Italy in years. The raids, which also included arrests in the United States, came after an extended investigation against a clan specialising in crimes linked to business and the financial sector, police said. They said the investigation, with extensive use of wire taps, had given them new insights into the organisation of the 'Ndrangheta, the Calabrian mafia, which is far less well understood than its Sicilian counterpart, the Cosa Nostra.

The group has expanded out of its heartland in the poor southern region of Calabria to play a major role in organised crime throughout Europe and in the international drugs trade from South America. Tuesday's raids took place in Calabria and in rich northern regions into which the group has extended its operations. Italian authorities gave few initial details about arrests in the United States. Charges range from belonging to an organised crime group to money laundering and offences linked with the awarding of public works contracts.

* Reuters