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WORLD DRUG BUST BOOSTS ITALY'S NEW CRACKDOWN ON MAFIA

An international drug bust from Sept. 26-28 struck a firm blow to the Italian arm of a worldwide network of cocaine-dealing and money-laundering. It also gave Italian authorities an important victory.

"Operation Green Ice" used a sting to help catch about 200 people in the United States, Italy, and at least five other countries, officials said. The operation, coordinated by the US Drug Enforcement Agency, was aimed at the Colombian cartel and Italian organized crime.

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Tens of millions of dollars in cocaine, cash, jewels, securities, and property were seized.

The Italian government had been dealt a blow with the murders of the country's two leading anti-Mafia judges in May and July. The killings prompted the government to pass tougher anti-Mafia laws, which officials say helped with the 34 arrests in Italy.

An Italian police official said the ring sent cocaine from Colombia through the US and Spain for distribution in Europe. -PATHNAME- /usr/local/etc/httpd/plweb/DBGROUPS/paper/database/tape/92/sep/day30/30023.