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    A villager drives a small moto ape utility truck past a road sign in the small Sicilian town of Corleone, Italy in this April 12, 2006 file photo

    Mafia Migration: German Cops Launch Crackdown on Calabrian Crime Gangs

    © REUTERS / Marcello Paternostro/Files
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    German prosecutors are fighting back after Italian Mafia gangs set down roots in Germany.

    Italian mafia gangs are spreading throughout Western Europe and have a "stable presence" in "whole areas" of Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, according to a report by Italy's top anti-Mafia unit, the newspaper Hanover Allgemeine reports.

    European cities such as Hamburg and Rotterdam are being used as transport hubs by the 'Ndrangheta crime organization from Calabria in south-west Italy, which dominates global drug-trafficking.

    Germany and Switzerland are the most popular destination for Calabrian immigrants and their mafia clans. On August 15, 2007, six men in Duisberg were shot dead outside a restaurant in a feud between rival gangs that originated in the Calabrian town of San Luca. 

    The police investigation into the murder found that the two clans in question operated 61 restaurants in Germany between them.

    "The Mafia is very powerful. I think that it is in almost every city, (although) maybe not in East Germany because there are relatively few Italians. You have industries where the Mafia dominates whole areas. The Mafia is extremely strong and makes billions in sales every year and this money helps to secure and expand its power," David Schraven, co-author of a book on the Mafia, told Deutschlandfunk earlier this month.

    Germany's most powerful Mafia clan is the "Faraos," who operate in Southern Germany. They are closely intertwined with elites, Schraven said.

    "Some investigators avoid talking openly about them, because they don't know how high the level of influence of this clan is. Clan members have photos of high-ranking police officials which were taken in restaurants in southern Germany, in the new [post-1990] federal states."

    These concerns led the state prosecutor's office in Konstanz, located at the border with Switzerland, to launch an investigation into organized drug trafficking in southern Germany last summer.

    As a result of the investigation, on June 21 over 300 officers raided several properties across the south-western state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and arrested 15 suspects aged from 25 to 77 years. Simultaneously, police in Italy arrested two suspects under German arrest warrants.

    The suspects are accused of drug trafficking, serious violence, attempted murder, robbery and blackmail. During the course of the raids, police discovered large amounts of marijuana and cocaine worth hundreds of thousands of euros. 

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    crime, police, mafia, Italy, Germany
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