Rome, April 4 (IANS/AKI) Police in southern Italy on Tuesday arrested 11 Calabrian mafia suspects and impounded assets worth 4 million euros including property, companies and bank accounts.
The suspects were arrested in the Calabria region and face charges of mafia association, unfair competition through threats and violence, fraud, and abetting jailed clan chief Marcello Pesce while he was on the run.
Among the suspects held on Tuesday was Marcello Pesce's son Rocco Pesce, who passed on his father's orders to clan members, enabling him to forge a new business strategy to tighten the 'Ndragheta's economic grip.
Thanks to Marcello Pesce's business acumen and network of collaborators, the clan had a stranglehold on the transport of fruit and vegetables as well as drugs trafficking, according to investigators.
Tuesday's operation followed a probe during which local anti-mafia prosecutors said they had uncovered ongoing police collusion with the 'Ndrangheta.
"We established collusion with the police which obliged us to immediately issue the arrest warrants," said prosecutor Gaetano Paci.
Drug trafficking, extortion and money-laundering rackets have in recent decades made the Calabrian mafia or 'Ndrangheta Italy's wealthiest and most powerful international crime syndicate.
It operates throughout Italy and overseas and its influence and networks extend from northern Europe to Australia and North and South America.