Italian police have arrested 48 suspected members of the southern 'Ndrangheta mafia in a sweep that uncovered dealings in flowers and chocolates as well as drugs and arms, anti-mafia prosecutor Franco Roberti said.
The suspected members of two 'Ndrangheta clans also associated with illicit trafficking in the Dutch flower market and stolen Lindt chocolate.
The mafia centred in southern Calabria have "great flexibility, adapting to markets that offer the most opportunity to get rich," Rome deputy prosecutor Michele Prestipino told a news conference on Monday.
Working with Dutch prosecutors, Italian police uncovered several cells of one of the clans in The Netherlands, focusing on the flower trade. "This operation has shown that the 'Ndrangheta families today have the financial and human means to colonise outside their home territory," Prestipino said.
The probe also uncovered trafficking in 250 tonnes of Lindt chocolate worth more than seven million euros ($7.9 million), stolen in Italy late last year and sold on in Italy, Poland, Austria and Switzerland, the prosecutors said.
The 'Ndrangheta are the most active, richest and most powerful organised crime syndicate in Europe, according to Italian authorities.
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