Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sicilian mobster dies in custody

Italian police say imprisoned reputed Mafia boss Gaetano Lo Presti, 52, hanged himself in his cell Dec. 16, according to stories by the BBC and UPI.

Lo Presti (right) had been arrested earlier in the day, part of a roundup of almost 100 alleged Mafiosi. Italian officials believed LoPresti was boss of a Mafia clan in a district of Palermo. Police say the Mafia leadership has been working to establish a ruling council and possibly a supreme boss of the organization. Bernardo Provenzano, the underworld organization's most powerful boss for many years, was arrested in April 2006. A successor, Salvatore LoPiccolo, was arrested in November 2007.

Officials say Lo Presti was found dead in his cell after he read police wiretap transcripts tying him to efforts to establish a provincial "commission."

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website mafiahistory.us. Moderator of Mafia-related Google+ community and 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.