About 90 alleged Italian mafia members were arrested Wednesday in a Europe-wide operation spanning across four countries, just a day after the new boss of the Cosa Nostra and 45 other top mobsters were rounded up.
Wednesday's operation came after a two-year investigation into the Ndrangheta criminal group on allegations of cocaine trafficking, money laundering, bribery and violence.
The 'Ndrangheta, a mafia organisation that operates out of the Calabria region of southern Italy, is one of the largest crime syndicates in the world, and is thought to make billions of pounds through cocaine trafficking every year. Cocaine and ecstasy pills also were seized in the raids.
Italian police said the sweep targeted the 'Ndrangheta and its "projections across South America".
But Federico Cafiero De Raho, Italian anti-mafia and anti-terrorism national prosecutor, sounded a note of caution, saying the raids only scratched the surface of the powerful 'Ndrangheta, whose tentacles and illicit activities spread all over the world.
Deputy Prime Minister Luigi di Maio hailed the operation as "one of the biggest blows inflicted on the mafia" by the Italian authorities.
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But he warned that it was "just a first step", saying the arrests were "nothing for the 'Ndrangheta, there are thousands of people who should be arrested and billions that should be seized".
"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.
Italian restaurants and ice cream parlours used to launder money were among the premises raided.
Germany's Der Spiegel reported that the German operation was mostly concentrated in North Rhine-Westphalia - a stronghold for the mafia - and involved 240 police and another 240 support staff from the federal criminal agency.
He added, groups of the 'Ndrangheta and its allies, have infiltrated the ports around Europe and "polluted" lawyers and accountants in many countries on their payrolls.
The "Ndrangheta is seen as the most powerful Italian mafia organization, trumping Sicily's Cosa Nostra and Naples" Camorra.
Five suspects were arrested in the Netherlands, where prosecutors got the ball rolling for the investigation in 2014 with probes into two Italian restaurants, and more were detained just over the border in Belgium.