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32 arrested in 3-nation operation against Italian crime syndicate

MADRID -- Police in Italy, Spain and Germany have arrested 32 people suspected of trafficking drugs and laundering money in a European operation against the Camorra crime syndicate.

A drug seizure two years ago prompted the investigation by the Anti-Mafia Prosecution Office in Naples that led to Wednesday's arrest in three countries, said Eurojust, a The Hague-based agency that coordinates the fight against organized crime across European borders.

Naples has been the traditional base for the Mafia-type Camorra syndicate, an umbrella for many different clans.

Spain's State prosecutor office said that 14 people were arrested Wednesday in the northeastern city of Barcelona, including 10 Italians, a Chilean, a Colombian, a Spaniard and a Venezuelan.

Police in Barcelona raided several premises, including store rooms and restaurants, believed to be linked to the syndicate. According to Eurojust, the suspects allegedly sent large quantities of cocaine and hashish to Italy and reinvested the benefits in food businesses, jewelry, cars and football.

The EU agency said that police had made other arrests in Germany and Italy. It said nearly a ton of drugs and 5 million euros ($5.6 million) in cash were seized in the three European countries.

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