About three dozen mobsters were arrested across Italy and Germany following police raids in those countries.

Warrants were also arrested for suspects believed to be living in Canada and Australia.

The arrest sweep focused on the 'Ndrangheta, the Calabria-based crime syndicate which specializes in illegal drug trafficking. It is believed to be the most powerful criminal organization in Italy, due primarily to its control of the cocaine trade in Europe.

Crimes alleged to have been committed by those arrested today include robbery, murder, drug trafficking, protection rackets, money laundering and possession of arms and explosives.

Of the 35 arrested, six were detained in Germany, accused largely of recycling illicit funds from Italy in shops and small construction businesses.

German police said they arrested one man in Frankfurt and five others in the Lake Constance region in southern Germany near the border with Switzerland.

The raids in Calabria also revealed that the 'Ndrangheta groups had influenced elections in and around the city of Reggio di Calabria.

Italian police stated that one of the people arrested was found hiding in a bunker near his house in Calabria.

We surrounded his house, which was in the countryside, a police official told the media.

He hid in a bunker under the house and we negotiated to get him out and arrest him. We didn't want to go in with pneumatic drills to dig him out.

This was an exceptionally important operation as it dealt a serious blow to the 'Ndrangheta in Italy and abroad, said Interior Minister Roberto Maroni

‘Ndrangheta has reportedly staged many revenge killings in recent years, the most spectacular of which was a massacre of six men in Duisburg, Germany, in August 2007.

We have hit at the central structure of the 'Ndrangheta, the police spokesman said. The 'Ndrangheta is on the brink or at least it will be forced to re-organize.