Italian police arrest 55 suspected mafiosi in large-scale raids

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Italian police during the mafia raids 

Italian police arrested 55 people suspected of having links to the Sicilian mafia in a crackdown on organised crime.

The suspects were accused of extortion, drug trafficking and possession of weapons and explosives, Italian police said.

The raids took place around the Sicilian town of Caltanissetta and other parts of Italy.

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Around 500 officers were involved in the large-scale operation.

“Today’s operation was of particular importance not only in terms of quantity but also in terms of quality,” Salvatore De Luca from the public prosecutor’s office in Caltanissetta said.

The Cosa Nostra was the most well-known and active mafia organisation on the Italian Mediterranean Island.

There were also smaller criminal organisations, such as Stidda.

The focus of the operation was on the town of Gela in Sicily, where two large mafia families had aligned with Stidda to organise the drug business.

The families were said to have illegally obtained money to build several greenhouses for cannabis cultivation.

The drugs were allegedly sold in the area or used as a means of exchange with the Calabrian mafia ‘Ndrangheta to obtain cocaine.

According to De Luca, a member of the Democratic Party, serving as president of Campania, the weapons in the suspects’ possession were particularly worrying.

“The result is a Cosa Nostra that does business, deals in drugs, has a considerable arsenal of weapons and is prepared to kill and demonstrate its power,” said De  Luca.

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