Naples

Anti-mafia police arrest 41 people in three-year operation

Blitz spans six provinces, three regions in Italy

Anti-mafia police arrest 41 people in three-year operation

Naples, March 25 - As many as 41 people were arrested Monday and charged with offences ranging from attempted murder to arson, corruption, threats and providing false alibis in what police say was a case of complete mafia control of a local economy. Police say the Amato clan controlled the entire economic structure of the city of Santa Maria Capua Vetere in Caserta province north of Naples. Gunmen punished anyone who tried to oppose the mob's activities and its control of the area, say police, who blamed a lawyer for providing false alibis for some of the accused. A police blitz across six provinces and three regions of southern Italy - Campania, Calabria and Puglia - grew out of surveillance operations that commenced three years ago. Those arrested included a former politican Francesco Cecere, 57, and Guiseppe Amato, 61, brother of the clan leader. Police also arrested clan boss Salvatore Amato, 57, his daughter Rosa, and his companion Emilia Maio. Clan members attempted murder, committed arson when merchants wouldn't install clan-owned gaming machines, and hid suspects on the run, police said. Numerous weapons were also seized in the raid.

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