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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 January 2008, 14:31 GMT
Sicilian Mafia suspects arrested
Italian police have arrested 39 people in the Sicilian city of Palermo on suspicion of involvement in the island's Mafia.

The arrests followed intelligence gathered after November's capture of alleged Mafia boss Salvatore Lo Piccolo, police said.

Those arrested in the latest swoop include Mr Lo Piccolo's son, Calogero.

The suspects are accused of illegal ownership of weapons and of ties to a criminal gang involved in extortion.

According to the AP news agency, some of the suspects are also believed to have helped conceal Mr Lo Piccolo while he was a fugitive from the law.

His capture in November led to the discovery of dozens of notes containing coded instructions for his subordinates.

According to the police, intelligence gleaned from these notes and from Mafia informers facilitated the latest arrests.

Businesses in Sicily have recently been trying to root out the practice of paying "pizzo" - the extortion fee that is a major source of income for the Mafia.

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