06/03/2015 10:49 EDT | Updated 06/03/2016 05:59 EDT

RCMP say police raids linked to organized crime

Tuesday's early morning police raids across the GTA were linked to a two-year investigation of the international organized crime group known as 'Ndrangheta. 

Members of the RCMP's Combined Special Forces Enforcement Unit appeared at York Regional Police headquarters Wednesday morning to update the public on a series of raids that netted the arrests of 19 men allegedly directly involved with or associated with rival crime families originally from southern Italy.

The arrests were made in connection to the "importation of drugs," "firearms trafficking" and "extreme violence and extortion" related to organized crime, police said this week.Officers from the RCMP, Toronto, York Region and Guelph were also involved in the operation.