Forty-eight suspected members of the N’Drangheta, the Calabrian mafia, have been arrested as part of a wide-reaching surveillance operation by the Italian authorities. The suspects are believed to be behind the theft last year of 260 tonnes of Swiss chocolate.
In August 2014, more than €7 million (CHF7.6 million) worth of chocolate was stolen from a Milan warehouse belonging to Swiss luxury chocolate maker Lindt & Sprüngli.
Fifty tonnes of Lindor chocolate balls were later found in a warehouse in Nola, near Mount Vesuvius, and 20 tonnes in Sezze, between Rome and Naples, but the rest is believed to have been sold in Italy, Poland, Austria and Switzerland.
Anti-mafia prosecutor Franco Roberti said on Tuesday that the suspects were accused of dealing in arms and drugs.
In addition, one of the two N’Drangheta clans involved, based in the central region of Lazio, allegedly controlled the Dutch flower and plant market, using nurseries in southern Italy. This concealed other illegal dealings in heroin, marijuana and chocolate.
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