There was a standing ovation in Palermo when cars bringing in four senior mafia figures arrived at police headquarters. The arrests took place on the day Sicilians paid tribute to the victims of the Mafia, in particular magistrates like Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, whose assassinations in 1992 sent a seismic shock through the city. It has been suggested the group were betrayed by a former aide to Godfather Salvatore Lo Piccolo, who had been on the run for 23 years.
65-year-old Lo Piccolo was apprehended along with his 32-year-old son Sandro and two other Mafia bosses. The father and son have already been sentenced to life in prison for their crimes. The four are among the top 30 most wanted Mafia suspects in Italy and were seized in a raid on a house outside Palermo where they had gathered for a meeting.
Magistrates believe Lo Piccolo senior, whose nickname is the “The Baron”, took over the reins of the crime organisation after the arrest last year of the former “boss of bosses” Bernardo Provenzano.
After Provenzano’s arrest, Lo Piccolo fought for the Mafia leadership against this man, Matteo Messina Denaro. Investigators have attributed at least four murders to their turf war.