italy police migrants.jpg
Photograph: EPA/ANGELO CARCONI

A major Greek-Albanian drugs cartel that supplied Italian Mafia groups with hard and soft narcotics has been dismantled with 99 arrests, Italy's financial police Guardia di Finanza said Tuesday.

Four different crime groups were targeted by the "Ring New" operation, a statement said, adding that four of the suspects were apprehended in Greece, Belgium and Albania via European arrest warrants.

Authorities seized 117 kilograms of cocaine, 4,629 kilograms of marijuana, 90 kilograms of hashish, 850 grams of heroin or morphin, 554,000 euros (619,000 dollars) in cash, seven cars, five trucks, two boats and one camper van in the operation.

The Guardia di Finanza said the cocaine and hashish coming from Spain and the Netherlands would have been smuggled into Italy mixed with seafood, fruit and vegetable consignments delivered by road haulage firms set up by the drug traffickers in Belgium, Greece and Bulgaria.

The marijuana grown in Albania would have reached the Italian coast via speedboats or fishing vessels, and would have been delivered across the country on large camper vans or hidden in trucks carrying oranges, the financial police said.

Investigations started in 2012, monitoring the illegal drugs market in Brescia, a northern town near Milan. Authorities said Greek-Albanian mobsters would sell their drugs to Italian clans linked to the Camorra, Sacra Corona Unita and 'Ndrangheta Mafias.

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