updated 5/27/2009 6:41:24 AM ET 2009-05-27T10:41:24

Police arrested 41 alleged members of the Naples-based Camorra crime syndicate for running drug and extortion rings in the southern Italian city early on Wendesday.

The suspects, arrested in and around Naples, included nine women and several bosses of the Sarno clan, a top local crime family.

Angelo Mazzagatti of the Carabinieri paramilitary police said the group forced businesses to pay protection money and controlled the local cocaine flow, importing the drug from Spain and dealing it on the streets.

The suspects are also accused of illegal weapons possession and creating a mafia-like association.

Mazzagatti said the Sarnos had taken the lead in the city's underworld "not with a mafia war but with strategic alliances."

More on Italy   |  Camorra

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