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Police have 'never gotten so close' to catching Mafia boss

Arrests made of 30 associates of Matteo Messina Denaro

13 December, 13:04
Police have 'never gotten so close' to catching Mafia boss (See related) (ANSA) - Palermo, December 13 - Police said Friday that they have never been so close as they are now to capturing the Sicilian Mafia's fugitive number one boss, Matteo Messina Denaro.

The comments came as close relatives of Messina Denaro were among 30 people arrested on Friday in a massive police operation. "This is one of the most important operations," in recent anti-Mafia efforts, senior police official Mario Parente said.

"We have never gotten so close as we are now to Matteo Messina Denaro".

Despite his life as a fugitive, Messina Denaro is still reportedly active as the closest thing the Mafia has to a chief following the capture of the 'boss of bosses' Bernardo Provenzano in 2006 after 43 years on the run. Messina Denaro's sister Patrizia, his nephew Francesco Guttadauro and three of his cousins, Giovanni Filardo, Cimarosa Lorenzo and Mario Messina Denaro, were nabbed in an operation believed to have dismantled the web of protection around the Cosa Nostra chief. The relatives are thought to have maintained contact with Messina Denaro, who has been on the run since 1993, to help him run his crime syndicate based in the Sicilian city of Trapani and the surrounding province.

Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said the arrests are "really important" in isolating the fugitive and cutting off his finances.

"We thank the forces of order," said Alfano.

Police said that cutting off Messina Denaro's economic activities and financing is extremely important.