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Italian police arrest 34, seize mafia assets in Sicily

Staff Writer | July 20, 2017
Italian police seized mafia assets worth some 60 million euros ($69 million) in a major operation against a powerful clan in Sicily, authorities said.
Sicily mafia
Mafia   Palermo-based Brancaccio family
At least 34 people allegedly belonging to Palermo-based Brancaccio mafia family were arrested during raids carried out in Sicily and across five other Italian regions.

All of the suspects were variously charged with extortion, illegal possession of weapons, criminal threat, and malicious mischief, Italy's Interior Ministry said in a statement.

"The clan exerted a full control on an entrepreneurial group operating in several (Italian) regions, but rooted in Sicily and Tuscany most of all," the ministry stated.

Overall, some 42 companies were seized in the operation, according to Italy's finance police contributing to the raids.

The operation was ordered by prosecutors of the Anti-Mafia District Directorate (DDA) in Palermo

Among those put in jail were a mafia boss, Pietro Tagliavia, who allegedly kept running an extortion business for the Brancaccio clan despite being under house arrest, police said.

The major operation was carried out as Italy commemorated the 25th anniversary of the murder of top anti-mafia magistrate Paolo Borsellino, killed by mobsters in 1992.