The arrest of a murderous mob boss who has been on the run for decades has sparked relief around Italy – raising a key question: What will happen to the mafia now?
Matthew Messina Mini was taken into custody on January 16 when he was on an appointment at the hospital, where he was being treated for cancer.
He had been on the run since 1993 and had been jailed in absentia for murders committed in the early 1990s.
But with Messina Dinaro now out of the picture, who is ready to take on the Mafia?
Why was he important in the mafia?
While Messina Dinaro was Italy’s most wanted fugitive and top mafia boss, some experts say he did not control all the mafia clans – in part because he was not from the Sicilian capital Palermo.
Still, he was dubbed “the last godfather” and was the last fugitive member of a generation of gangsters who planned the bombings and murders that terrorized Italy in the early 1990s.
The man who was once the “boss of all bosses”, Salvatore ‘Toto’ Reyna, was arrested in 1993 and died in 2017. His right-hand man, Bernardo Provenzano, was arrested in 2006 and died in 2016.
According to some experts, Cosa Nostra, as the Sicilian Mafia is known, has lacked a top leader for years, possibly since Reina — in part because the various clans have met and Struggled to pick one.
Historian John Dickey, who wrote the book Cosa Nostra: The Definitive History of the Sicilian Mafia, told Sky News that the Mafia had broken up, suggesting that it was looking for someone to lead a group of clans around Palermo. can struggle to do.
Since the early 1990s, he said, the Mafia’s “hierarchy, its leadership structure, its entire regional structure… has been greatly affected.”
The police believe that the mafia is looking for a super boss.
But some investigators see the Sicilian Mafia as a “single-headed structure” – and believe it is looking for its new super boss.
Speaking about the future of the Mafia shortly after Messina Dinaro’s arrest, Palermo Prosecutor General Lia Sava said: “What will happen in detail, we cannot know.
“But one thing is certain: Cosa Nostra is made of rules. It has supported itself on those rules for 150 years, so surely it will set those rules in motion to undo the damage, and so on. will create the new leadership structure that is needed. arrest.”
Who can become the top boss?
So, if the clans come around the table and choose a new chief, who will be in the running?
According to several reports in Italy, 85-year-old Setimo Menu is the front runner. Officially, he runs a jewelry store in Palermo, but is considered one of the oldest mafia bosses, named as Reina’s successor after his death.
Mineo, like many Mafia members, is Currently serving a long prison sentence But it’s not unusual for leaders to run businesses from behind bars – after being arrested on suspicion of being a top Mafia boss.
Corriere della Sera, Italy’s leading newspaper, believes that 64-year-old Giovanni Motisi – known to most as “The Fatman” – could be next.
He is the boss of the organization’s Pugliarelli district in Palermo, and has been on the run since 1998 after being found guilty of murdering a police officer. Mutesi was also considered Raina’s most reliable hitman.
He is one of the most wanted men in Italy, some even say he is dead.
The daily newspaper also said Giuseppe Auteri, 48, the treasurer of Palermo’s wealthiest mafia district, is in the running.
One obstacle for Otteri though may be that he has been running in the Sicilian underbelly for a year.
According to Sky Tg24, Sandro Capizzi also has leadership ambitions in Sicily. The 41-year-old’s father, Benedetto, tried to seize power in Cosa Nostra by force in 2008, but the couple were arrested by police who feared Sicily was on the brink of a new mafia war.
But, the junior of the pair is free from jail and is said to be shooting himself in the head.
So what’s next for Cosa Nostra?
Despite its reputation as a powerful and ruthless crime syndicate, the Mafia has struggled for years.
In the lucrative drug market, he is tapped by the ‘Ndrangheta, an organization based in the Calabria region of southern Italy.
Although the Mafia retains control over Sicily and parts of the economy, Anna Sergi, an expert on organized crime at the University of Essex, said: “Messina Dinaro was the last godfather, he represented all the secrets of the Cosa Nostra.
“This is the end of a myth and the organization will have to deal with it.”
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