Italian crime fighters were busy on Thursday, announcing two major busts, arresting dozens of suspects.
Italy’s DIGOS anti-terrorism special operations unit said in a statement that it has searched the premises of 19 suspects in 16 Italian cities in an operation code-named “Black Shadows”.
“The search warrants were carried out against extreme-right militants who are under investigation for subversive association and instigation to commit crimes,” the statement said.
“The groups shared the same ideological fanaticism and intended to establish a neo-Nazi, xenophobic and anti-Semitic movement,” the statement explained.
One of the suspects is “a key member of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia,” police said.
Police said the suspects had “vast quantities of weapons and explosives” that they had been recruiting adepts on social media, and that they had contacts with “extremist and xenophobic groups” in Portugal and in Britain.
RAI News 24 public broadcaster showed footage of anti-terrorism police finding rifles, handguns, and other weapons stashed inside walls and other premises.
Also on Thursday, the Finance Guard announced it has arrested 51 drug trafficking suspects in Rome, as well as in the southern Calabria and Sicily regions.
“We busted a drug trafficking organization that supplied the entire capital (of Rome)… 51 people arrested,” the Finance Guard tweeted.
Rome Prosecutor Michele Prestipino told reporters at a televised press conference that the suspects include several “ultra” supporters of the SS Lazio football team.
“This gang…cuts across sports-related crime, politics, and drug trafficking,” ANSA news agency quoted Prestipino as saying.
The prosecutor added that the gang “trafficked 250 kilos of cocaine and over 4,000 kilos of hashish with street value of 120 million euros (132 million U.S. dollars)” in 2018 alone, according to ANSA.