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Monday, November 5, 2007

Police Arrest top Mafia Dons in Sicily Raid

From latimes.com: Police raided a summit of Mafia dons in Sicily on Monday, arresting a longtime fugitive authorities say was revitalizing Cosa Nostra's ties with U.S. mobsters and vying to become the crime syndicate's next "boss of bosses."

The capture of Salvatore Lo Piccolo after more than a decade on the run dealt another blow to the Sicilian Mafia, already weakened by several recent arrests, outmuscled by other underworld groups and facing an unprecedented challenge to the extortion racket that has been one of its main sources of income.

"It's a tough blow ... because they (the Lo Piccolo family) were in charge of restructuring the Mafia," said Francesco Forgione, head of Italy's anti-Mafia parliamentary commission.

Lo Piccolo, sentenced to life in prison for murder and on the run since 1993, was captured in a morning raid on a house in the countryside outside Sicily's capital, Palermo, police said.

Also arrested were Lo Piccolo's 32-year-old son Sandro -- another top Mafia figure sentenced to life in prison and wanted since 1998 -- as well as two men accused of being local bosses, both on Italy's list of 30 most-wanted fugitives, officials in Palermo said.

Investigators believe Lo Piccolo, 65, could have eventually emerged from a power struggle to be the Mafia's new "capo di tutti i capi" following the capture of top boss Bernardo Provenzano, the reputed No. 1 of the Cosa Nostra crime syndicate. Provenzano, who was on the run for more than 40 years, was arrested on a farm near Corleone, Sicily, in April 2006.  Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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