Cops bust 'Ndrangheta clan

Arrests in Calabria, Lazio, Emilia Romagna and Lombardy

(ANSA) - Reggio Calabria, November 29 - Italian police on Friday broke up a Calabrian 'Ndrangheta mafia clan operation in and around Rosarno and other parts of Italy.
    Some 45 people were arrested in the probe into the Bellocco clan.
    The operation, codenamed 'Magna', busted the Bellocco clan of Rosarno and its units operating outside Calabria, in particular in Lazio, Emilia Romagna and Lombardy, police said.
    Those under investigation are accused of mafia association, international drugs trafficking, possession of weapons, and robbery aggravated by using mafia methods, and by the transnational nature of the crimes.
    Police said they had arrested "the entire leadership" of the Bellocco clan.
    They said the clan had enforced a "capillary control of their territory", infiltrating the legitimate economy of the areas in which they operated.
    The clan also relied on white collar criminals in Argentina who helped organise the trafficking of "huge" quantities of drugs, police said.
    'Ndrangheta (from a Greek word meaning 'heroism' or 'virtue') once lived in the twin shadow of Cosa Nostra in Sicily and the Camorra in Naples.
    While those two syndicates, notably the Sicilians, were feeding off the transatlantic heroin trade through operations like the infamous 'French connection', 'Ndrangheta was only just emerging from its traditional stock-in-trade of kidnappings in the Calabrian highlands.
    It has since become a highly sophisticated global network with a chokehold on the European cocaine trade and control over swathes of its home turf where police fear to tread, Italian officials say.
    As well as being the richest, 'Ndrangheta is also regarded as the most impenetrable of Italy's mafias, with its close-knit family-based organisation outdoing the Sicilian mafia in its ability to defeat police efforts to turn members into State witnesses.
    The European law enforcement agency Europol has identified the 'Ndrangheta mafia as one of the "most threatening" organized crime groups on the global level, due to its "enormous financial might" and "immense corruptive power," with a presence in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, US, Colombia and Australia, where 'Ndrangheta turf wars have gained headlines.