The Italian police this morning arrested Salvatore Lo Piccolo, 65, reputed leader of the Sicilian Mafia, according to stories by Jeff Israely of TIME and Elisabetta Povoledo of the International Herald Tribune.
Lo Piccolo (right) had been a fugitive since 1983, when he was convicted of murder. Italian authorities believe he became the most powerful boss of the Sicilian Mafia after the April 2006 capture of Bernardo Provenzano near Corleone.
Lo Piccolo, his son Sandro, 35, and two other associates - Andrea Adamo and Gaspare Pulizzi - were arrested in homes in the town of Cinisi, just west of Palermo. Three dozen police surrounded the house. The four men surrendered after police fired warning shots.
During the arrests, police discovered weapons, cash, fake identification and the small handwritten notes that Provenzano used to communicate to other Mafiosi.
Police believe Lo Piccolo served as Provenzano's top lieutenant in the Sicilian underworld. They believe the mob boss was actively involved in strengthening ties between the Sicilian and American branches of the Mafia.
Matteo Messina Denaro, 45, of Trapani, long considered a contender for supreme boss of the Mafia, might take the opportunity of Lo Piccolo's arrest to seize control of the criminal society, investgators say. Also wanted by authorities, Denaro's location is not known.
- Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website mafiahistory.us. Moderator of Mafia-related Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.