Dozens of people were arrested in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and South America on Wednesday in an operation against members of Italy's 'Ndrangheta organised crime group, officials said.

Italian police and Eurojust, the European agency that oversees judicial cooperation in crime investigations, said those arrested were suspected of cocaine trafficking, money laundering, bribery and violence.

Eurojust said police were "currently executing arrests and seizures" but gave no numbers. Italian police said in their statement that 90 people had been arrested. The Italian statement also said arrests had been made in South America.

The operation targeted the 'Ndrangheta families based in the southern Italian city of Locri in the Calabria region, the heartland of worldwide crime group.

The 'Ndrangheta is one of Italy's three main organised crime groups, along with the Camorra, which is based in the Naples area, and Sicily's Cosa Nostra, commonly known as the Mafia.

Wednesday's operation came a day after Italian police arrested the suspected new head of the Sicilian mafia and 45 other alleged gangsters, dealing a major blow to the mob as it tried to rebuild after years of setbacks.


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