Italian police are calling it one of their biggest anti-mafia operations in 15 years.
More than 300 people have been arrested in raids in several regions against suspected members of the Calabrian mafia, the Ndrangheta.
The man considered to be the boss of the organisation, 80-year-old Domenico Oppedisano, is one of those detained.
Alfredo Mantovano, Italy’s Deputy Interior Minister, said: “Not since the 1970s have we had such a complete, comprehensive and detailed insight into the Ndrangheta. This operation really gives us a new snapshot into how they operate in Italy.”
Head of the Reggio Calabria Tribunal,
Giuseppe Pignatone, said: “The big families of the Ndrangheta, those we call the mafia dynasties, now include second, third and fourth generations. So there are the sons of people convicted 20 years ago, who have studied, completed university, integrated themselves into high society. And, more importantly, they can count on professionals, bureaucrats and politicians.”
Those arrested are suspected of being involved in crimes including arms trafficking, extortion and murder. Police say people have also been arrested in the US after a long investigation that involved wire tapping.