Mafia raids: Police in Italy and Germany make 169 arrests

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A group of Italian carabinieri patrol on November 28, 2017Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Italian police (file photo) took part in a cross-border operation against the 'Ndrangheta crime group

Police in Italy and Germany have made 169 arrests in an anti-mafia swoop, Italian police say.

Assets worth €50m (£44.06m; $59.79m) were seized in the operation targeting the 'Ndrangheta organised crime group.

As part of the group's activities, German restaurants were forced to buy wine, pizza dough and pastries made in southern Italy, police say.

Those arrested include the president of Crotone province, Nicodemo Parrilla, in Italy's Calabria region.

The investigation focused on the Farao-Marincola gang, one of the strongest in Calabria, Italian news agency Ansa reports, quoting police.

In Germany, arrests were made in the Hessen and Baden-Württemberg regions.

The 'Ndrangheta network is based in southern Italy but has expanded its reach into the rest of Europe, the BBC's James Reynolds reports from Rome.

The network had been planning to expand this operation into Switzerland.

Nicola Grattari, the Italian prosecutor in charge of the investigation, described the arrests as the most important step taken against the 'Ndrangehta in the last two decades.