Italian Police Arrest 'Godfather' of Sicilian Mafia in Major Operation

Settimino Mineo, jeweller and new head of the Sicilian mafia is escorted by carabinieri as he exits a police station after his arrest in Palermo

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 suspects are accused of arson, extortion, firearms offences and other crimes.

In a throwback to Cosa Nostra's 1980s heyday, the mobsters were in the habit of delivering severed goats' heads to...

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.

Italian media describe him as the successor to Toto Riina, who died in jail a year ago.

"The need to reestablish certain rules that Cosa Nostra had lost along the way, they were applied less because of the organisation's overall disorganization", Lo Voi said.

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The Palermo region has traditionally been the most powerful group within the Cosa Nostra cupola, or hierarchy, and police had been on the lookout for years for signs that it was trying to regroup and re-exert its authority. "There is no more room for this type of scum in Italy", Luigi Di Maio wrote in a social media post. Once the "maxi-trial" was underway, the judge sentenced Mineo to five years in prison.

Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini tweeted that it was "an extraordinary intervention" by the Carabinieri (the paramilitary police), "who have dismantled the new "cupola" of Cosa Nostra".

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.

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

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

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