Palermo

Thirty-seven arrested in Sicilian Mafia sweep

Suspects include Montelepre mayor, operation hailed

Thirty-seven arrested in Sicilian Mafia sweep

Palermo, April 8 - Carabinieri police on Monday arrested 37 people in a major operation against the Sicilian Mafia. Suspects include the centre-right mayor of Montelepre, Giacomo Tinervia. He faces charges of corruption and extortion-driven criminal association for allegedly taking a kickback from a businessman interested in public works contracts and allegedly acting as intermediary for the payment of protection money. The operation served to bust what investigators described as a 'super-clan' based in Camporeale, south of the regional capital Palermo. This group was created by a merger between the 'San Giuseppe Jato' and 'Partinico' clans and was able to assert its authority over other local criminal gangs, prosecutors believe. ''This investigation has served to confirm the territorial nature of Cosa Nostra,'' said Palermo prosector Francesco Messineo. ''The Mafia continues to anchor its organisational structure to the local territory''. Sonia Alfano, president of the European Parliament's Antimafia Committee, hailed the operation as ''one of the most important anti-Mafia operations in the Palermo province in the last 20 years''.

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