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Italy: Calabrian mafia boss arrested for attempted extortion

last update: March 06, 11:39

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Porto Kaleo, 6 March (AKI) - Police in southern Italy on Wednesday arrested a prominent Calabrian mafia boss Nicolino Grande Aracri and five of his alleged associates on suspicion of attempting to blackmail a local businesswoman.

Fifty-four-year-old Aracri tried to extort 1.5 million euros from the owner of a local holiday village, Porto Kaleo in August last year, threatening her and her family if she failed to pay up, according to police.

In another further development on Wednesday, police detained five other Calabrian mafia or 'Ndrangheta suspects in the province of Reggio Calabria who face charges of mafia association, property fraud, usury, extortion and physical assault.

On Tuesday, anti-mafia police impounded 17 tourist developments in Calabria and other assets worth a total 450 million euros, arresting 20 people in raids across several Italian regions as well as in Spain and the UK.

The 'Ndrangheta has become one of the world's biggest criminal organisations and experts say it is richer and more powerful than the Sicilian mafia. Cocaine is thought to be its biggest source of revenue, along with extortion and money laundering.

It controls the European cocaine trade, has close ties with south American drug cartels and also operates in northern Europe, Australia and Canada.

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