An infamous mob boss and murderer who was on the run for many decades has been arrested. This has brought relief to Italy, while also raising the pressing question: What happens to the Mafia?
Matteo Messina Denaro was taken into custodyon January 16th while he was attending a hospital appointment for treatment for cancer.
He was on the run from 1993 to 1993, and was sentenced in absentia in 1990 for the murders he committed in the early 90s.
With Messina Denaro out of the picture, who will now take over the Mafia?
Why was this man important to the Mafia.
Messina Denaro was Italy’s most wanted fugitive, and was the top boss of the Mafia. However, experts believe he didn’t control all Mafia clans because he wasn’t from Palermo (the Sicilian capital).
He was still referred to as the “last Godfather” and was the last escapee from a group of mobsters that orchestrated a series of bombings, murders, and terror attacks on Italy in the 1990s.
Salvatore “Toto” Riina was the man who once was the “boss among all bosses”. He was arrested in 1993, and died in 2017. Bernando Provenzano was his right-hand man and was detained in 2006. He died in 2016.
Experts believe that Cosa Nostra (the Sicilian Mafia) has been without a leader since Riina. This may be because many clans have struggled to find one.
Sky News was told by John Dickie (history writer, Cosa Nostra: A Definitive History the Sicilian Malfia) that the Mafia has been dismantled, suggesting that it may struggle to find someone who will lead the group of clans in Palermo.
He stated that the Mafia’s hierarchy, its leadership structure and its entire territorial structure had been greatly disrupted since the 1990s.
Police believe the Mafia wants a super-boss
Some investigators believe the Sicilian mafia is a single-headed structure and are looking for its next super-boss.
Palermo prosecutor General Lia Sava spoke out about the future Mafia shortly following Messina’s arrest.
“But there is one thing certain: Cosa Nostra is composed of rules. These rules have supported it for 150 years. It will, therefore, set the rules in motion to repair the damage and create the new leadership structure after the arrest.
Who could be the top boss?
If the clans come to the table and elect a head, who would it be?
Many reports in Italy claim that Settimo Mineo, 85 years old, is the frontrunner. He is a Palermo-based jeweler and was named after Riina as his successor.
Like many Mafia members, Mineo is serving a long sentence. He was arrested for being the Mafia’s top boss. However, it is not uncommon for leaders to manage the business from behind bars.
Corriere della Sera is Italy’s most popular newspaper and believes that 64-year-old Giovanni Motisi, also known as “The Fatman”, may be next in line.
After being convicted of killing a police officer, he is now the boss of Pagliarelli’s Pagliarelli region in Palermo. Motisi was believed to also be Riina’s most trusted hitman.
He is one the most wanted men of Italy. Some even believe he might be dead.
According to the daily paper, Giuseppe Auteri (48), is the treasurer in Palermo’s richest Mafia District.
Auteri’s one-year stint in Sicilian underbelly could prove to be a problem.
According to Sky Tg24, Sandro Capizzi has ambitions of becoming a leader in Sicily. Benedetto was the father of the 41-year-old, who attempted to take power in Cosa Nostra with force in 2008. However, the police arrested the pair because they feared that Sicily was at the edge of another Mafia war.
The junior member of the pair, however, is not in prison and is believed to be vying for the head honcho.
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What’s next for Cosa Nostra,
The Mafia is a notorious crime syndicate that is powerful and brutal, but it has struggled for many years.
It has been replaced by the ‘Ndrangheta in the lucrative drug market. This organisation is based in Calabria in southern Italy.
Although the Mafia retains control over Sicily and parts of the economy in some cases, Anna Sergi, an expert on organised crime at Essex University said that Messina Denaro was the last Godfather. He represented all the secrets of Cosa Nostra.
“It’s the end of a legend and the organization will have to deal with it.”