Carabinieri police announced 114 arrests Tuesday involving alleged members of Italy’s 'Ndrangheta, considered to be one of the most wide-scale takedowns commenced against Italy’s most powerful mafia organizations – active in approximately 30 countries.

The police investigation included more than 1,000 officers, who were backed up by detection dogs and helicopters. Officers affected 116 warrants, total, for the mafia organizations alleged participants engaging in fraud, illegal possession of weapons, and extortion.

Nearly two dozen of the accused spearhead 23 factions of the Crime Syndicate controlling the Calabria coastal region – Italy’s southwest – the hub of the organization where decision-making is based and which influences its mafia factions foreign and domestic.

Secretive criminal syndicate runs parallel courts

To combat the secretive criminal syndicate, police employed phone taping during their investigation of the organization, which adapted due to an increase in pressure from Italian authorities. The 'Ndrangheta’s secrecy entailed setting up mock courts punishing mobsters who were thought to have breached mafia rules – code of conduct – and to resolve feuds and rivalry between factions, according to Newsweek. The objective of the syndicate’s secrecy is to uphold a conspiracy of silence.

The state prosecutor of Reggio Calabria (capital of Calabria), Federico Cafiero de Raho stated that the investigation and raid yielded the arrests of the mafia syndicate’s “ringleaders.”

Giuseppe Governale, police chief, characterized the expansive police operation’s outcome as having struck the “beating heart” of the syndicate’s reach both nationally and internationally.

On Tuesday, the Carabinieri – which is a military force that has police duties – also carried out a raid against the Cosa Nostra, of Sicily, which led to the arrest of 54 people who stand accused of being members of organized crime, extortion, drug trafficking, robbery, and organized crime membership.

'Ndrangheta extremely dangerous

Italy’s yearly report on organized crime last month stated that 'Ndrangheta frequently relies on corruption rather than violence in pursuit of its goals. As well, the report is believed to hold supremacy over smuggling cocaine into Europe. The crime syndicate is also thought to be involved in central sectors of the economy, public administration, and politics, according to the report.

Franco Roberti, who is Italy’s anti-mafia czar, told the Italian Senate in May that some countries understand that the crime syndicate, 'Ndrangheta, is extremely dangerous. In addition to the 30 countries in which the organization is active, it is also believed that the clan is stable in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

'Ndrangheta is the dominant mafia crime organization in Germany, according to the country’s Federal Crime Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA).

Bad month of May for mafia crime organization

Tuesday’s arrests follow a less than stellar month for the usually secretive crime syndicate. Not even a month ago, 'Ndrangheta’s Italian fugitive mafia boss was arrested in Brazil and charged with international drug trafficking.

Additionally arrested was Guiseppe Giorgi, following his capture where he was hiding inside his house in a bunker in San Luca Calabria. His 25-year fugitive status was over. Closing out the month of May, 22 people in Italy and Germany were arrested, accused of operating a cocaine trafficking ring tied to the 'Ndrangheta crime organization.

Marco Minniti, Italy’s Minister of the Interior, spoke of Tuesday’s raid and arrests, as well as the raid of Sicily’s Cosa Nostra. He remarked that the results illustrate extraordinary efforts that law enforcement officials devote every day to thwart criminality.