Spain arrests 32 in swoop on suspected members of Italy's Camorra

MADRID Wed Jul 9, 2014 10:26am EDT

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MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish police have arrested 32 suspected members of Italy's Camorra crime group they say were involved in drug trafficking, extortion, fraud and money laundering, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.

In raids on 14 homes and businesses across Madrid, police seized 1.13 million euros ($1.54 million) in cash, properties worth around 8 million euros and firearms.

Police did not specify the nationality of those arrested, suspected of supplying drugs to their partners in Naples, home of the Camorra, one Italy's biggest mafia groups.

There were also four arrests in Italy, the ministry said. There was no immediate word from Italian authorities.

The swoop was the culmination of a cross-border investigation launched in November, 2011 into criminals operating in and around the Spanish capital with connections to Italy, the Netherlands, France and Colombia, the ministry said.

Since the operation began, 2,800 kg of cocaine has been confiscated. The investigation, which Spain said included cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, is ongoing.

Italy's three main mafia groups, the Camorra, Sicily's Cosa Nostra and Calabria's 'Ndrangheta, have a joint annual turnover of 116 billion euros, according to a U.N. estimate.

($1 = 0.7331 Euros)

(Reporting by Paul Day; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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