Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Italian police dismantle upper ranks of Sicilian mafia with arrests

Italian Mafia 'godfather' Settimo Mineo held in Sicily raid New Cosa Nostra mafia 'boss of bosses' Settimo Mineo arrested
Jeannette Daniel | 08 December, 2018, 09:07

Italy's military police descended upon Palermo, Sicily at the break of dawn Tuesday to arrest the alleged leader of Sicily's notorious Mafia, also known as the Cosa Nostra, ANSA reported.

The previous boss of bosses, Salvatore "Toto" Riina, died in prison a year ago after spending nearly a quarter of century behind bars for ordering dozens of murders, including those of two of Italy's most famous anti-mob magistrates.

The Mafia suspects are accused of extortion, firearms offences, arson and other crimes.

Settimo Mineo - presumed head of the mafia families in the Sicilian capital Palermo - was arrested by Italian police as part of an operation.

The Palermo region has traditionally been the most powerful group within the Cosa Nostra cupola, or hierarchy, and police had been on the lookout for years for signs that it was trying to regroup and re-exert its authority.

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The cupola held a secret meeting in Palermo in May, the first gathering of mob families for 25 years, at which it reportedly chose to formally anoint Mineo as the head of Cosa Nostra. Mineo had been elected heir of Toto Riina [ex-capo di capi] after his death. Under Riina, its longtime base was Corleone, the Sicilian town made famous by writer Mario Puzo when he used Corleone as the main character's name in his 1969 novel "The Godfather". In 1992 two leading prosecutors, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, were blown up in Mafia hits.

"And that despite the convictions, despite the trials, important people can take over the most important roles once they're back in play".

After Riina's 1993 arrest, the Sicilian Mafia saw a degree of marginalization compared with the Calabrian-based 'ndrangheta organized crime syndicate or the Neapolitan Camorra.

"With an extraordinary operation in the Palermo province, the police have dismantled Cosa Nostra's new "cupola"," wrote Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Twitter.

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