Germany arrests suspected Italian mafia man

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Police have arrested an Italian suspected of being a major drugs trafficker with Italy's 'Ndrangheta mafia in a joint operation between German and Italian officers, officials here said Saturday.

German police said they arrested 51-year-old Bruno Pizzata on an international arrest warrant in a pizzeria in western Oberhausen late Friday.

He will appear before a judge on Monday.

Pizzata is suspected of being linked to the Pelle clan of the 'Ndrangheta, a mafia group based in the southern Italian region of Calabria.

He had been wanted since December 2, when he managed to escape an Italian police swoop during which 87 'Ndrangheta suspects were arrested, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

Pizzata runs a pizzeria in Duisberg, also western Germany, and divides his time between Europe and South America, said investigators.

Investigators suspect him of being a major drugs trafficker, bringing consignments into from Latin America to the Calabria region of Italy.

They said he had been moving between Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands to avoid being captured.

Italian prosecutors are expect to start proceedings to extradite him.

The 'Ndrangheta is the biggest Italian criminal syndicate operating in Germany. More half the 200 suspected Italian mafia members in Germany are affiliated to the 'Ndrangheta.

German police tightened their watch on its members after a 2007 shoot-out in western Duisburg where suspected members of the clan shot six Italians in front of a restaurant.

© 2011 AFP

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