Sicily: Police Nab Top Mafia Boss, 80, and 45 Henchmen

Police are due to release more information on their mafia arrests. — Reuters pic

Police are due to release more information on their mafia arrests. — Reuters pic

A police source said Mineo was elected boss at a meeting of provincial leaders of the Sicilian mafia, known as "Cosa Nostra" (Our Thing), on May 29.

The 46 others could face charges of belonging to the mafia, extortion and illegal possession of arms amongst others.

In the end, the leaders of several clans "Cosa Nostra" took the decision to restore the leadership structure of the mafia, providing Miney powers of the so-called godfather.

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 a year ago.

In recent years police have hit the Cosa Nostra network hard.

He reportedly told his driver about details of the May 29 Cupola meeting, describing it as "a attractive meeting, very serious, with country people, old people". It was believed to be the first such gathering of mob families for more than 25 years.

Colletti reportedly rejoiced in the resurrected Cupola, which was to be an improvement on Riina's "tyranny".

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Italian deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio wrote in an Instagram post: "The arrests. represent one of the biggest blows inflicted on the mafia by the state".

"Mineo was indeed elected "heir" to Toto Riina after his death".

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.

"There is no more room for this type of scum in Italy", he added.

Mineo survived a 1992 ambush that killed his brother Giuseppe, around six months after another brother, Antonino, was murdered outside the family jewelry shop.

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.

Both Falcone and Borsellino were murdered in 1992 on Riina's orders after verdicts were delivered.

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