A 'major' operation against the Georgian mafia netted European police at least 69 suspects, with arrests made in six European countries.
The operation targets money launderers and drug traffickers
In a European operation coordinated by Spanish anti-corruption prosecutors, police arrested 24 alleged Georgian mafia members in Spain and 45 in Germany, Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland on Monday. Spanish police described it as a "major" operation that was "ongoing."
Those detained were held on charges of drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering, extortion and conspiracy to murder.
"The arrest of the criminal organization's heads deals a harsh blow to Georgian criminality in Europe," said a statement from the Swiss prosecutor's office.
According to the statement, Swiss authorities began investigation of "certain people of east European origin, mainy Georgians and Russians," in April 2009 and cooperated with other European police for months ahead of Monday's raids.
The gang was "a perfectly structured and extremely hierarchical international criminal organization, controlled from Spain," the prosecutor said.
Editor: Susan Houlton
German Development Minister Gerd Müller has told a newspaper of the government's plans to create a care facility for the victims of "Islamic State" violence. Germany has the highest number of aslyum seekers in Europe.
Italian authorities have arrested members of an Ordine Nuovo splinter gang, after information gleaned from wiretaps revealed the group was planning to murder politicians and attack government agencies.
Prosecutors say a French driver who injured a dozen people over the weekend purportedly in the name of Islam was "absolutely not" motivated by terrorism. The French president has urged citizens not to panic.
We may know him best as the devilishly handsome provocateur of films such as "Ocean's Eleven" but Brad Pitt may be about to receive a somewhat more salubrious title - the "Keeper of the German Language" for 2014.