Italian police said Wednesday they had arrested more than 30 people as part of a crackdown on organized crime in southern Italy, including key figures who have been active for over three decades.

The arrests targeted the so-called 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate active the Calabria region, at the toe of boot-shaped Italy. The suspects were believed to be from rivaling clans of the organization, officials said.

The FBI Web site describes the 'Ndrangheta as an organization of about 160 crime families and 6,000 "members" loosely connected by marriage, specializing in kidnapping and political corruption. It's estimated that there are about 200 'Ndrangheta members in the U.S., mostly in New York and Florida, and actively engaged in dealing drugs, contract murder and racketeering.

Prosecutor Mario Spagnuolo, leading the investigation, said that 34 people were arrested in a series of raids earlier Wednesday. Police were looking for two people, including Pasquale Condello, a suspected mobster believed to be the head of one of the clans and who has been on the run for years.

CountryWatch: Italy

The arrests were carried out in Cosenza and Reggio Calabria, both in the region, as well as in cities across Italy, said the ANSA news agency.

Spagnuolo said the suspects are wanted in connection with around 40 murders in the area carried out during two Mafia wars between 1977-1990.