Police arrest 69 in 'Georgian mafia' raids

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The Independent Online

Police arrested 69 people across Europe yesterday in raids targeting suspected Georgian mafia members.

A National Police official said 24 people were arrested in Spain, in the eastern Catalonia and Valencia regions, in the Basque region in the north and in Guadalajara in central part of the country. Spain coordinated the European raids.

The detainees are suspected of crimes, including money-laundering, drug trafficking and weapons possession, the official said on condition of anonymity in line with department rules.

Spain's Cadena Ser radio station said raids were also conducted in France, Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

Switzerland's Federal Prosecutor's Office said 11 people were arrested in that country as part of a probe that began in April 2009.

It said the raids targeted a highly structured and hierarchical crime gang that was directed from Spain.