New mafia 'boss of bosses' arrested in Sicily

2 weeks ago
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The alleged new head of the Italian mafia and 45 of his suspected mobsters have been rounded up and arrested in Sicily.

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

Authorities are hailing the arrests as a dismantling of the upper echelons of the Cosa Nostra, which is believed to have been rebuilt after the death of “boss of bosses” Salvatore “Toto” Riina.

Riina – who was nicknamed “The Beast” – died in prison a year ago aged 87.

Settimino Mineo (C), jeweller and new head of the Sicilian mafia, is escorted by carabinieri as he exits a police station after his arrest, in Palermo
Image: Police escort Settimino Mineo to a station in Palermo following his arrest

He led the Corleone crime family and had become infamous for a killing spree during the 1980s and 1990s that targeted prosecutors, judges and other law enforcement officials.

Riina had been behind bars since 1993 but he is believed to have run his criminal activities from prison.

However, it did not continue to grow in strength at the same rate as the Calabrian-based ‘ndrangheta or the Naples-based Camorra organised crime groups.

Mineo was named the new “boss of bosses” in May during a rare summit of mafia families, according to Italian media, which calls him a “life-long mobster” who never used mobile phones.

He is understood to have survived an assassination attempt in 1982, but two of his brothers were the victim of mob murders.

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”.

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He added: “Mineo had been elected ‘heir’ of Toto Riina after his death. There is no more room for this type of scum in Italy.”

And calling the operation “extraordinary”, prime minister Matteo Salvini tweeted that the police operation has “dismantled the new ‘dome’ of the Cosa Nostra”.

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