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41 sought in Italian crime syndicate crackdown

By the CNN Wire Staff
An Italian police photo shows the entrance to a hiding place where 'Ndrangheta boss Francesco Maisano was arrested.
An Italian police photo shows the entrance to a hiding place where 'Ndrangheta boss Francesco Maisano was arrested.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The suspects are wanted for crimes ranging from money laundering to murder
  • They are located in Italy, Germany, Canada and Australia
  • The operation follows a similar crackdown in July last year
RELATED TOPICS
  • 'Ndrangheta
  • Italy

Rome (CNN) -- Authorities have in custody 34 people and are seeking the arrest of seven more as part of another major crackdown on the 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

The operation, dubbed "Crime 2," follows a similar one in July 2010, appropriately named "The Crime."

"Crime 2" seeks to apprehend 41 people in Italy, Germany, Canada and Australia on charges ranging from homicide and illegal weapons possession to drug smuggling and money laundering. Officials sought to arrest between 200 and 300 people during the 2010 operation.

Of the 41 people sought, 34 are in custody, said Chief Prosecutor of Reggio Calabria Giuseppe Pignatone.

"The main information that emerged from this investigation is that the structure of the mafia organization called 'Ndrangheta, is united. The basic territorial unit of the 'Ndrangheta is reproduced abroad. Each unit refers for the solution of problems and for any main decision with the mother house in Italy," he said.

Reggio Calabria is located in Calabria.

The 'Ndrangheta is prevalent in the Calabria region of southern Italy and is seen as similar to the Sicilian Mafia. But the group has stretched to many other countries.

In 2004, authorities said they linked the 'Ndrangheta to an international drug trafficking network involving gangs in South America and Australia.

Journalist Livia Borghese contributed to this report.

 
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