By Elisabetta Povoledo
Published: November 5, 2007
Italian police arrested Salvatore Lo Piccolo, said to be one of
the most powerful bosses in the Sicilian Mafia, near Palermo on
his son Sandro and two associates were detained during a raid
on an isolated villa outside of Palermo, the police said. The
four men were on Italy's 30-most-wanted list and were holding
a meeting when their hideout was surrounded by about three dozen
police officers, said Palermo's police chief, Giuseppe Caruso.
They gave themselves up after the police fired warning shots.
to Caruso, Lo Piccolo, 65, took over the top post in Cosa Nostra
after the arrest in April 2006 of the "boss of all bosses,"
an extraordinarily important result," Interior Minister Giuliano
Amato said in a statement. "No organization can survive for
long if we keep striking at its top ranks. This is what it means
to not give the Mafia a break."
war of succession followed the arrest of Provenzano 18 months
ago, in an abandoned warehouse near his hometown of Corleone.
of murder and on the run since 1983, Lo Piccolo quickly filled
Provenzano's shoes, effectively rising to the top of the criminal
organization. "When you control Palermo, you control the
Mafia," said Caruso.
Forgione, head of the parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission, said
in an interview with the Corriere della Sera Web site that Lo
Piccolo's hold on Sicily had been enforced through violence and
deeply rooted ties with local businesses. "This shows how
the Mafia is strong because it is intertwined with the economic
and financial community," he said.
Monday follow a series of raids and arrests over the past 18 months
that have effectively crippled the Sicilian Mafia, Caruso said.
"These four were the last on our list." Still on the
run is another top mobster, Matteo Messina Denaro, 45, from the
Trapani area, who some experts believe was vying with Lo Piccolo
for control of Cosa Nostra.
two mobsters arrested in the villa were Andrea Adamo and Gaspare
Pulizzi, the alleged heads of two other Palermo area families.
The four men did not put up any resistance, Caruso said. Also
arrested were the owner of the villa where the meeting took place
and another man.
not confirm news reports that Sandro Lo Piccolo, 32, screamed
out "I love you, papa," as he was being led away in