64 Mafia arrested in Italy

May 27, 2009 12:00 am

, ROME, May 27 – Italian police arrested 64 presumed Mafia members including 10 women on Wednesday in a sweeping crackdown in Naples that has netted more than 130 suspects in just over a week.

"We had issued arrest warrants against 64 people suspected of belonging to a very big clan of the Camorra," or the Neapolitan Mafia, a police spokesman told AFP, adding that the arrests took place in the Vesuvius region.

"Three of them are already in jail for other crimes," he said.

The suspects from the Sarno clan are accused of extortion, usury and trafficking in drugs, a police statement said.

Ten women were among those arrested, including 48-year-old Luisa Terracciano, the wife of a clan boss, a police source said, adding that several of them were wanted for smuggling cocaine from Spain.

Terracciano took over the running of the clan since her husband’s incarceration, the source said, adding that the family led one of the region’s top Mafia bodies.

They freely took protection money, or pizzo, the source said. A private security firm run by them was placed under sequestration after Wednesday’s crackdown, ANSA news agency reported.

The carabinieri, or military police, said two jailed Mafia members had been informed of the new arrest warrants on Wednesday.

Clan chief Giuseppe Sarno, 50, who was on the run since January this year, was arrested in Rome on April 5. His brother Vincenzo, 38, had been arrested a few days earlier.

Naples police also said they had launched a separate operation Wednesday targeting 20 presumed Camorra members involved in drug-peddling in a working class area of the city.

On May 19, Italian police arrested 68 suspected members of the Neapolitan Mafia for murder, drug trafficking and money laundering in one of largest crackdowns on organised crime of recent years.

Italian judges had issued a total of 109 arrest warrants for this operation, for "homicide, association with Mafia figures, drugs trafficking and money laundering."

Assets worth five million euros (6.8 million dollars) including land in Spain and bank accounts in Monaco were seized.

The warrants were directed mainly at the Amato-Pagano family, part of a breakaway clan that has set itself up against Paolo Di Lauro, who leads a rival family in the Scampia district of Naples.

Wednesday’s operation was just the latest in a series of moves against suspects linked to several different mafia groups in Italy.

On May 10, Italian police arrested Salvatore Coluccio, the suspected head of a mafia crime family in the southern region of Calabria, known as the ‘Ndrangheta.

Coluccio, who had been on the run for four years and featured among Italy’s 30 most dangerous fugitives, was found hiding in a special bunker equipped with an electric generator, an air conditioning system and a large stock of food.

On May 5, Italian police said they had seized more than 300 million euros in real estate and funds from 13 suspected members of the Sicilian Mafia who were arrested in 2007.


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