Palermo’s anti-mafia unit has arrested who they suspect is the new head of the Sicilian mafia group Cosa Nostra along with 45 other alleged mobsters.
Settimo Mineo, an 80-year-old jeweller who was allegedly promoted to lead the criminal organisation following the death of former boss Salvatore ‘Toto’ Riina in 2017, was among those arrested on Tuesday.
Mineo had been previously sentenced to five years in jail for mafia-related crimes in a trial related to the death of anti-mafia prosecutor Giovanni Falcone. He was arrested again in 2006 and spent 11 years in jail.
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 had been elected 'heir' of Toto Riina after his death."
"There is no more room for this type of scum in Italy," he added.
A police source told Reuters that Mineo was elected as the new boss during a gathering of mob families last May. The first one to take place in more than 25 years.
The meeting of the Cosa Nostra cupola (hierarchy) was believed to be a sign that the group was trying to rebuild.
"With an extraordinary operation in the Palermo province, the police have dismantled Cosa Nostra's new 'cupola'," wrote Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Twitter.
The suspects are accused of being “associated with the mafia and aggravated extortion”