European law enforcement agencies jointly launched Operation Pollino in 2016, looking to put a dent in the 'Ndrangheta's criminal operations.
Masked police stand in an ice parlor in Duisburg, western Germany, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 as authorities conduct coordinated raids in Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands in a crackdown on the Italian mafia.
The 'Ndrangheta group comes from Calabria in the south of Italy, it is one of three mafia crime groups, which includes the Camorra, and the Cosa Nostra, commonly known as the Mafia.
He also confirmed that there had been raids in Suriname, a small South American country that was once a Dutch colony.
The 'Ndrangheta controls a network of restaurants and ice cream parlours throughout several European countries, which it uses to launder money and traffic drugs, according to Westerbeke. They are accused of committing "serious crimes" including activities linked to global drug trafficking, Italian police said in a statement.
Federico Cafiero De Raho, Italian anti-mafia and anti-terrorism national prosecutor, said the arrests "are nothing for 'ndrangheta".
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The "unprecedented" crackdown on the group based in Calabria, southern Italy, came just a day after Italian police arrested the new boss of the separate Sicilian mafia.
But he warned that it was "just a first step", saying the arrests were "nothing for the 'Ndrangheta, there are thousands of people who should be arrested and billions that should be seized".
Deputy Prime Minister Luigi di Maio hailed the operation as "one of the biggest blows inflicted on the mafia" by the Italian authorities.
"Today, we send a clear message to organised crime groups across Europe", Filippo Spiezia, vice president of the EU's judicial agency Eurojust, told reporters in The Hague.
The 'ndrangheta "is the most important organized crime group in the world", said Gen. Alessandro Barbera, who commands the investigative unit of Italy's financial police corps.
Settimino Mineo, center, who allegedly took over as the Palermo head of Cosa Nostra, is escorted by Italian Carabinieri police.
Five suspects were arrested in the Netherlands, where prosecutors got the ball rolling for the investigation in 2014 with probes into two Italian restaurants, and more were detained just over the border in Belgium.