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Italy police arrest mafia's alleged new mob boss in Sicily

08 December 2018

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

Settimino Mineo, 80, is believed to have succeeded the former head of Cosa Nostra, Toto "the Beast" Riina, who ordered dozens of murders during a bloody reign of terror but died past year.

Detainees accused of involvement in mafia activities, extortion, illegal possession of weapons and other serious crimes.

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Italy's deputy prime minister described the operation as "one of the biggest blows inflicted on the mafia by the state", and authorities said they will release further information in due course.

Italy's chief anti-Mafia prosecutor, Cafiero De Raho, said the election of Mineo was significant because it showed that the centre of power of the Sicilian Mafia had shifted to Palermo from Corleone, its longtime base that was made famous by novelist Mario Puzo, who used the town's name for the main character in his 1969 novel The Godfather.

The Sicilian Mafia managed to rebuild the Cupola after it had not met for years, Italian media reported.

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"We deduced that it was a Cupola meeting because important Cosa Nostra members. were not allowed to take part", he said.

Mineo was sentenced to five years in jail for mafia-related crimes at the so-called "maxi-trial" that ran from 1986-1992 and was spearheaded by prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. "There is no more room for this type of scum in Italy", Luigi Di Maio wrote in a social media post.

It was the first time clan leaders had gathered in such a forum for years, and followed the November 2017 death of Riina, prosecutors said.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini praised the Carabinieri's [national gendarmerie] role and "extraordinary intervention" in the dawn raids.

Falcone was murdered in a massive auto bombing in 1992. Six months later Riina was arrested.

Mineo was again arrested on mob-related charges in 2006 and was released previous year.

Italy police arrest mafia's alleged new mob boss in Sicily