Italian mafia kingpin, 46 others arrested

Police are due to release more information on their mafia arrests. — Reuters pic

"With an extraordinary operation in the Palermo province, the police have dismantled Cosa Nostra's new "cupola"," Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said on Twitter.

Detainees accused of involvement in mafia activities, extortion, illegal possession of weapons and other serious crimes.

In the end, the leaders of several clans "Cosa Nostra" took the decision to restore the leadership structure of the mafia, providing Miney powers of the so-called godfather.

Police also arrested three other Cupola members in the swoop.

In recent years police have hit the Cosa Nostra network hard, but it has been trying to rebuild its leadership, Italian media report.

He reportedly told his driver about details of the May 29 Cupola meeting, describing it as "a handsome meeting, very serious, with country people, old people".

"These people, despite being heads of families, were kept outside because only regional bosses could take part".

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"We all got up and kissed", Colletti reportedly said of the end of the meeting.

Based on wiretaps, police determined that during a May 29 meeting of clan leaders in Palermo, Mineo had been elected head of the "cupola", the mob leadership.

Mineo has already served 11 years in prison after he was arrested in a maxi-trial led by prosecutor and judge Giovanni Falcone that targeted the Cosa Nostra.

Italy's deputy prime minister described the operation as "one of the biggest blows inflicted on the mafia by the state", and authorities said they will release further information in due course.

The cupola held a secret meeting in Palermo in May, the first gathering of mob families for 25 years, at which it reportedly chose to formally anoint Mineo as the head of Cosa Nostra. "There is no longer room for this scum in Italy", Di Maio wrote on Facebook. During the 1980s, it became less collegial under Riina's domination and effectively ceased to function after his 1993 arrest.

Both Falcone and Borsellino were murdered in 1992 on Riina's orders after verdicts were delivered.

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