It is one of the most important anti-mafia operations ever carried out: a hundred searches and 132 simultaneous arrests. A severe blow to the ‘Ndrangheta, the Calabrian criminal organization. On May 3, Operation Eureka mobilized 2,700 police officers in Calabria, as well as throughout the European continent. In addition to the arrests in Italy, others took place in Germany, Belgium and France.
The operation made it possible to get their hands on 25 million euros: cash, weapons, drugs, luxury watches and numerous businesses, which make it possible to launder money. In France, the arrests took place in the Alpes-Maritimes, in Menton. Two men were handed over to the Italian authorities. One of the managers was confused by telephone tapping. In his conversations with one of the chiefs of the ‘Ndrangheta, he seems to act as a relay to find an ideal place for laundering.
Less visible but still powerful
The turnover of the ‘Ndrangheta, one of the most powerful mafias in the world, is estimated at 50 billion euros per year. Born in Calabria, the organization is ultra-secret. Based on close-knit family clans, it has few pentiti. Present on five continents, it is associated with the South American drug cartel, and controls a large part of the cocaine traffic in Europe. “The mafia today doesn’t shoot, kill or burn cars anymore, so we think it’s over. But in reality, two crimes are committed in Europe: they sell drugs and they launder money. ‘money”comments Nicola Gratteri, prosecutor of Catanzaro (Italy).