Rome: Italian police arrested at least 320 people on Tuesday in dawn raids across the country against the powerful Calabrian mafia, one of their biggest crackdowns on organized crime in years.
The raids, which also included arrests in the United States, followed an extended investigation against a clan specializing in crimes linked to business and the financial sector, police said.
They said the investigation, with extensive use of wire taps, had given them new insights into the organization of the `Ndrangheta, the Calabrian mafia which is far less well understood than its Sicilian counterpart, the Cosa Nostra.
The group has expanded out of its heartland in the poor southern region of Calabria to play a major role in organized crime throughout Europe and in the international drugs trade from South America.
Tuesday`s raids took place in Calabria and in rich northern regions into which the group has extended its operations. Italian authorities gave few initial details about arrests in the United States.
Charges range from belonging to an organized crime group to money laundering and offences linked with the awarding of public works contracts.