Hundreds of police in Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands arrested at least 84 suspected mobsters and seized around two million euros ($3 million Cdn) on Wednesday in a series of co-ordinated raids targeting a powerful branch of the Italian Mafia.
"It's nearly a cliche, but the operation carried out today confirms again the great danger of the 'ndrangheta, not just in drug trafficking, where it's the undisputed leader, but (also) in the financial sphere", said Francesco Ratta, a top police official in the southern Italian region of Calabria.
The 'Ndrangheta mafia are considered to be one of the most powerful organized crime syndicates in Italy, involved in drugs and firearms trafficking, prostitution, racketeering and shark loaning.
The operation was co-ordinated by Eurojust, the European agency that fights cross-border organised crime.
"Today we send a clear message to organized crime groups across Europe", said Filippo Spiezia, vice president of Eurojust, the European Union prosecution agency that coordinated the raids.
Law enforcement and judicial officials speak at a press conference organized by Eurojust in The Hague, Netherlands, on December 5, 2018. Around 90 arrests were made; 4,000 kilograms (8,820 pounds) of cocaine and 140 kilograms of ecstasy pills were seized.
But Federico Cafiero De Raho, Italian anti-Mafia and anti-terrorism national prosecutor, also sounded a note of caution, saying that the raids only scratched the surface of the powerful 'ndrangheta, whose tentacles and illicit activities spread all over the world.
Authorities said they conducted raids in Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands in a crackdown on the 'Ndrangheta, a southern Italy-based organized crime group.
Police also raided an Italian restaurant in Pulheim North Rhine-Westphalia Germany
He said the "unprecedented and extraordinary result" targeted "dangerous members of the 'Ndrangheta family deeply involved in drug trafficking and money laundering".
Ndrangheta is a mafia organisation from the south of Italy which has extended its influence to many other countries.
Some 2 million euros (2.3 million dollars) in criminal assets was seized, Eurojust Vice-President Filippo Spiezia said in The Hague.
In Germany, Wednesday's operation focused on restaurants, offices and apartments linked to the mafia group, focused on the North Rhine-Westphalia region, Der Spiegel reported.
Wednesday's raids come a day after the new suspected head of the Cosa Nostra and 45 other alleged gangsters were arrested.
In total 41 people were arrested in Italy, 21 in Germany, 14 in Belgium, five in the Netherlands and two in Luxembourg, with operations still underway, Eurojust said.
Just under half of the suspects were detained in Italy.
Speaking in The Hague, De Raho said the arrests "are nothing for 'Ndrangheta".