BERLIN, Germany - In a massive anti-mafia swoop, the police in Italy and Germany are said to have made a whopping 169 arrests.
The police have accused the gang of running a huge mob-controlled commercial and political empire involving everything from bread and wine sales to funeral services, migrant housing and garbage recycling.
Authorities in both the countries are also said to have seized mafia assets worth 50 million euros as part of the operation targeting the 'Ndrangheta organised crime group.
Local reports noted that the network, which is based in southern Italy but has expanded its reach into the rest of Europe and had been planning to expand its operation into Switzerland.
The police have said that as part of the group's activities, German restaurants were forced to buy wine, pizza dough and pastries made in southern Italy.
The Italian prosecutor in charge of the investigation, Nicola Grattari, was quoted as saying that the arrests are the most important step taken against the 'Ndrangehta in the last two decades.
Further, officials revealed that the president of Crotone province, Nicodemo Parrilla, was arrested as part of the raid in Italy's Calabria region.
A report in the Italian news agency Ansa quoted investigators are saying that their probe focused on the 'Ndrangehta Farao-Marincola clan, which is one of the strongest in Calabria.
The clan had its hand in just about every commercial enterprise in the Calabrian town of Ciro and nearby areas.
Meanwhile, in Germany, arrests were made in the Hessen and Baden-Württemberg regions.
The Italian police said that the business of the clan was worth 21.8 billion euros in 2017, rising 30 percent on a year earlier.