Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Monday, 15 March 2010

Georgia mafia suspects arrested in six countries

Twenty-four of the suspects were detained in Spain. These pictures show arrests being made in Getxo, in the Basque country

Sixty-nine suspected Georgian mafia members have been arrested in a co-ordinated operation across Europe.

Twenty-four of them were detained in Spain, mainly in Barcelona and Valencia, as part of Operation Java, Spanish police said.

The arrests are the result of a year-long investigation initiated by Spanish police.

The other arrests took place in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy.

Those arrested are suspected members of a Georgian mafia network accused of a whole list of crimes, including money-laundering, extortion, drugs trafficking and possessing weapons, says the BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Madrid.

Two years ago, a police operation in Spain led to the arrest of 20 suspected members of the Russian mafia, who had been living on the island of Majorca.

Monday's Spanish operation was co-ordinated by the National High Court and carried out by the central drugs and organised crime unit and other regional security forces.

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