46 arrested in major bust linked to Sicilian mob

08 December, 2018, 19:09 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Italian Mafia 'godfather' Settimo Mineo held in Sicily raid

A massive police operation led to the arrest of 80-year-old Settimo Mineo, said to be the new leader of the Cosa Nostra - the most prominent organized crime group on the island of Sicily - as well as 46 suspected members of the mob, the police said in a statement cited by Efe news.

The purported jeweller allegedly became the new head of the Cosa Nostra after previous boss Salvatore "Toto" Riina, also known as "the beast" and the "boss of all bosses", died in prison a year ago.

Riina - who was nicknamed "The Beast" - died in prison a year ago aged 87.

Based on wiretaps, police determined that during a May 29 meeting of clan leaders in Palermo, Mineo had been elected head of the "cupola", the mob leadership. 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.

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.

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Italian police on Tuesday arrested new Mafia boss Settimino Mineo and dozens of other suspects in a major swoop against a resurgent Cosa Nostra.

The country's deputy prime minister Luigi di Maio, announcing the arrests, said they "represent one of the biggest blows inflicted on the mafia by the state". Once the "maxi-trial" was underway, the judge sentenced Mineo to five years in prison.

In 1992, Falcone and another top prosecutor - Paolo Borsellino - were blown up in Mafia hits. "So we found ourselves facing danger and for that reason the police intervened rapidly", Lo Voi said.

Some media have said he was Riina's natural heir, but Sicilian prosecutors have denied he is the boss of bosses, saying he never held sway over the powerful Palermo clans.

Mineo, who ran a family jewelry business, was allegedly behind an attempt to rebuild the "cupola" or ruling commission of Cosa Nostra in order to streamline its command structure and strengthen its position.

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