Italy po­lice ar­rest new Mafia boss in Si­cily

Cyprus Today - - UK -

PO­LICE ar­rested the sus­pected new head of the Si­cil­ian Mafia and 45 other al­leged gang­sters on Tues­day, deal­ing a ma­jor blow to the mob as it tried to re­build af­ter years of set­backs.

Set­timo Mi­neo, an 80-year-old jeweller with a pre­vi­ous mafia con­vic­tion, was elected to take the helm of the crime group Cosa Nos­tra, or “Our Thing”, at a se­cret meet­ing of mob fam­i­lies from in and around the Si­cil­ian cap­i­tal Pa­lermo in May.

It was the first such gath­er­ing of the pow­er­ful Pa­lermo clans since their pre­vi­ous leader, Sal­va­tore “Toto” Ri­ina, was ar­rested in 1993 and con­victed of or­der­ing dozens of mur­ders.

Ri­ina died in prison last year while serv­ing 26 life sen­tences. Ital­ian me­dia have long spec­u­lated over who might have re­placed him but pros­e­cu­tors said on Tues­day Pa­lermo mob­sters waited un­til af­ter his death to anoint a suc­ces­sor.

“There has been a re­turn to the old, ar­chaic rules of ‘Cosa Nos­tra’,” chief pros­e­cu­tor Francesco Lo Voi told re­porters. “Dur­ing the course of the May meet­ing they dis­cussed the need to re-es­tab­lish rules which had been lost on the street.”

Once all-pow­er­ful on Si­cily, the world’s most fa­mous crime gang has been squeezed over the past two decades, with many bosses put be­hind bars, busi­nesses se­questered and lo­cals in­creas­ingly ready to defy it.

Ital­ian me­dia showed pic­tures of the white­haired, be­spec­ta­cled Mi­neo be­ing led away by po­lice, his hand­cuffed hands hid­den be­neath a coat.

“There is no more room for this type of scum in Italy,” Deputy Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Luigi Di Maio wrote on In­sta­gram af­ter the wave of pre-dawn ar­rests.

Also on Wed­nes­day scores of peo­ple were ar­rested in Italy and other Eu­ro­pean coun­tries in a raid on the ’Ndrangheta co­caine-traf­fick­ing group that of­fi­cials said is the largest sweep of its kind.

Those ar­rested are sus­pected of drug traf­fick­ing, money laun­der­ing, bribery and vi­o­lence, said Ital­ian po­lice and Euro­just, the Eu­ro­pean agency that over­sees ju­di­cial co­op­er­a­tion in crime in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

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