June 21, 2009 / 3:56 PM / 10 years ago

Italian mafia boss arrested in Venezuela

ROME (Reuters) - A top Sicilian mafia boss on Italy’s list of 30 most dangerous men has been arrested in Venezuela, the interior ministry said on Sunday.

On the run since 2001 for mafia links and drug trafficking, Salvatore Miceli, 63, was arrested in Caracas during the night by Italian police and Interpol agents, the ministry said.

“The capture of boss Miceli is a big blow to the Cosa Nostra,” said Giuseppe Luma, a former head of Italy’s anti-mafia parliamentary commission, referring to the Sicilian mafia.

Part of powerful godfather Matteo Messina Denaro’s network, Miceli oversaw major drug trafficking deals together with the Calabrian mafia ‘Ndrangheta and via contacts with Colombian drug cartels, said Luma, now a centre-left senator.

Italian police have inflicted major blows on the Sicilian mafia with the arrests of several top mafiosi in recent years, including that of the “boss of bosses” Bernardo Provenzano in 2006 and his heir apparent Salvatore Lo Piccolo in 2007.

Writing by Deepa Babington; Editing by Matthew Jones

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