REGGIO CALABRIA, Italy -- A major joint operation by Italian police and FBI agents in Italy has robbed two of the world's most notorious organized crime operations of a new drug smuggling route from Latin America into Europe.
CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey was invited to witness the nighttime raids in Italy, and reports the operation was focused on breaking up the new route into the southern Italian port of Goia Tauro.
The trafficking route connected the Italian Mafia's 'ndrangheta crime syndicate with the U.S. Sicilian Mafia. Raids were also carried out in the U.S. and Canada.
U.S. officials told CBS News that seven people were arrested by the FBI in the New York area raids, and they were expected to appear in federal court in New York City on Tuesday afternoon. The raids in and around New York targeted members of the Gambino and Bonnano crime families.
Pizzey reports that the Italian raids were code-named "New Bridge," and involved nearly 150 police officers swooping in on as many as 20 locations in the suburbs and villages around Goia Tauro, which is one of the largest shipping ports in Europe.
The operation took place in the dead of night under conditions of absolute secrecy. Pizzey says the area is so infested with local Mafia, that they literally have eyes and ears everywhere.
The FBI and Italian police were after as many as 26 suspects, including a member of the notorious New York-based Gambino crime family who officials say negotiated the new smuggling route.
FBI special agents, who CBS News is not indentifying due to the nature of their work, were on hand for the raids in Italy, and Italian police took part in the operations in New York.