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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 November 2006, 17:44 GMT
Italian police 'bust drug cartel'
Italian police inspect a car during a raid in Naples on 8 November 2006
More than 100 people were held over the last two days
Police in Italy say they have broken a major drug-trafficking ring - their second operation in two days.

Fifty people were arrested in co-ordinated raids in several cities in central Italy, police say.

Those detained are suspected of smuggling cocaine and heroin from Africa to several European countries.

On Wednesday up to 60 suspected drug-traffickers were held in southern Italy. The mafia is said to have been targeted in both operations.

Drug 'mules'

Thursday's raids were carried out in and around Perugia, Naples, Pisa and the capital, Rome.

Most of those arrested were African.

Investigators believe couriers from Nigeria and Morocco - known as "mules" - swallow up to a kilogramme of drug-filled pellets at a time to move substances into Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.

The Calabria mafia, in particular, known as the 'Ndrangheta, has strong connections to powerful drug cartels in Africa and also South America, the BBC's Christian Fraser in Rome says.

He says that the Naples Mafia, known as the Camorra, has recently turned on itself.

After nine murders in the past two weeks some have called for the army to be sent to the city.


SEE ALSO
Italy considers Mafia crackdown
01 Nov 06 |  Europe
Seven held over Naples violence
01 Nov 06 |  Europe
Hunt for elusive Naples mafiosi
01 Feb 05 |  Europe
Mafia turf war grips Naples
24 Nov 04 |  Europe

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