Mafia suspects arrested at Lake Constance

Police arrested eight Italian citizens on Tuesday morning at Lake Constance in Baden-Württemberg on suspicion of involvement in the ’Ndrangheta, Calabria’s feared mafia organisation.

Mafia suspects arrested at Lake Constance
Lke Constance, a 'stronghold' of the mafia. Photo:DPA

Special Operations teams (SEK) from six different federal states were involved in the operation, reports the Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung (FAZ).

Upon searching the suspects’ homes, police found weapons including pistols, revolvers, and a shotgun.

Based in the impoverished southern region of Calabria, the 'Ndrangheta is said to be behind most of Europe's cocaine business, and is regarded as the most powerful mafia organisation in Italy.

The suspects in Tuesday's arrests are between the ages of 40 and 69.

Police carried out the arrests in coordination with authorities in Italy, who also arrested two members of the ’Ndrangheta organization on Tuesday.

“The reason for the arrests was a mutual assistance request from Italy and a European arrest warrant.

“Unfortunately we know very little about the charges against the men,” a spokesperson for the general prosecutor in Karlsruhe told FAZ.

The general prosecutor in Karlsruhe has now applied to the district court for an exportation order, writes the Südkurier.

This is not the first time that the beautiful southern lake has made headlines in connection with Italian crime syndicates.

In March 2011 police arrested five Italians at Lake Constance as part of an international operation against the mafia that included 30 arrests over three continents.

In August 2014 the general inspector for organised crime in Baden Württemberg, Sigurd Jäger, described Lake Constance as a “stronghold” of the mafia, the Thurgauer Zeitung reported at the time.

The name 'Ndrangheta comes from the Greek for courage or loyalty. The organisation's tight clan-based structure has made it difficult for Italian authorities to penetrate.

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German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.