Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

New Godfather Settimo Mineo, 80, seized in raid on Sicilian mafia

New Godfather Settimo Mineo, 80, seized in raid on Sicilian mafia

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

The previous boss of bosses, Salvatore "Toto" Riina, died in prison past year 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.

Riina died in prison past year while serving 26 life sentences.

"This is a sign that Cosa Nostra doesn't abandon its rules", Lo Voi told a press conference.

Once all-powerful on Sicily, the world's most famous crime gang has been squeezed over the past 2 decades, with many bosses put behind bars, businesses sequestered and locals increasingly ready to defy it.

In recent years police have hit the Cosa Nostra network hard, but it has been trying to rebuild its leadership, Italian media report.

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. Salvini said in a tweet that it had "dismantled the new "cupola" of Cosa Nostra".

Palermo prosecutor Francesco Lo Voi recalled that Mineo had already served a lengthy prison sentence for Mafia association and other crimes after he was swept up in the maxi-trials against the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s and 90s.

In 1992, Falcone and another top prosecutor - Paolo Borsellino - were blown up in Mafia hits.

"If the (Palermo) group meets, it meets to decide serious things".

One prominent mafioso the police have been unable to capture is Matteo Messina Denaro, nicknamed "Diabolik", who has been on the run since 1993 and comes from the province of Trapani in western Sicily.

Italy's chief anti-Mafia prosecutor, Federico Cafiero de Raho, said the election of Mineo, 80, was significant because it showed that the center of power of Cosa Nostra had shifted to Palermo.

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