23 held in Italy anti-mafia raid

Rome, June 14 (IANS/AKI) Police in Italy’s southern Calabria region have arrested 23 suspects on charges of mafia association, drugs and arms trafficking, property fraud, money laundering and abetting fugitives from justice.

The suspects belong to the ‘Ndrangheta’s Ascone di Rosarno clan. Members of the Calabrian mafia’s Pesce and Bellocco families were arrested in two earlier phases of the operation, police said.

The Ascone di Rosarno, Pesce and Bellocco clans have been seeking to consolidate their grip on the territory and bring smaller feuding local families under their rule, investigators said.

Calabria’s ‘Ndrangheta is one of the wealthiest and most powerful of Italy’s mafia crime syndicates.

It controls the European cocaine trade, has close ties with South American drug cartels and also operates in northern Europe, Australia and Canada.

–IANS/AKI

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