Tuesday, February 01, 2005

House or fortress in my neighborhood?
Posted by Hello

Mafia Raid Nearby

We all know the Mafia is a heavy in Sicily, but they remain invisible to the average person. There is a house around the block, though, that strongly resembles a fortress more than a house! Of course, I do live "on the slopes of Etna." This article appeared on the CNN site today:

45 arrested in Italy Mafia raid
Monday, January 31, 2005 Posted: 9:08 AM EST (1408 GMT)

PALERMO, Italy (Reuters) -- Italian police raided houses and hideouts around the Sicilian city of Catania on Monday and arrested 45 Mafiosi accused of cocaine trafficking, extortion and kidnapping.
The operation was aimed at the "Santapaola" Mafia family, Cosa Nostra's outpost in the foothills around Mount Etna and the port city of Catania, police said in a statement.
Among those arrested was Giuseppe Ercolano, 68, who is believed to be the head of the clan and was last released from prison only a year ago.
"Various people cooperating with the police were able to throw light on a long series of kidnappings and extortion, as well as a vast drug trafficking ring organised by the 'Santapaola' mafia family from 1989-1995," the investigators' statement said.
It said gangs believed to have been controlled by Ercolano had kidnapped local bankers, run a flourishing cocaine trafficking network and forced businesses to pay up to 10,000 euros ($13,000) in protection money.
Last week police swooped on Mafiosi in and around the Sicilian capital of Palermo who had formed a web of protection around top Cosa Nostra boss Bernardo Provenzano, who has been on the run for four decades.