37 arrested, $13M seized in anti-Mafia operation in Germany and Italy

Published 04.10.2017 17:33

Italian police say they have seized 11 million euros ($13 million) in assets and arrested 37 people, including two Carabinieri officers, accused in a Sicilian Mafia extortion racket involving fruit, fish and drugs.

Police said one victim was the owner of a swank Via Veneto restaurant in Rome who was forced to come up with 180,000 euros ($212,000) after receiving threats from mobsters over fruit and vegetable deliveries.

Two Carabinieri officers are accused of illegally using information from a police database to extort the owner, who eventually went to police.

The investigation focused on the Rinzivillo family of Sicily, and its drug-dealing envoys in Germany. It showed how Cosa Nostra had infiltrated Rome businesses, using legitimate fresh and frozen fish front companies, and made alliances with other organized crime groups.

"In Rome, we are used to dealing with the 'ndrangheta and the Camorra and instead here, since the summer of 2014, we have been facing a recognizable, visible organizational structure of an important Mafia family from Agrigento, the Rinzivillo," said Prosecutor Michele Prestipino Giarrita.

Italian authorities ordered a European arrest warrant for the two suspects, said a representative of the prosecutor general in Cologne.

Around 600 police officers were involved in the raid in Italy, announced the police in Rome, securing arrests in five different regions.

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