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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 February 2008, 20:35 GMT
'Mafiosi' held in US and Sicily
Brunettini Giuseppe, Sergio Corallo, Antonino Chiappara, Filippo Casamento, Giovanni Simone, Nicola Di Salvo, Melchiorre Guglielmini, Tommaso Lo Presti, Gaetano Savoca, Vincenzo Savoca, Giovanni Lo Ve
Italian police published pictures of some of those arrested
Dozens of people have been detained by US and Italian authorities targeting an alleged Mafia-run transatlantic drug trafficking operation.

The operation, codenamed "Old Bridge," saw arrests in and around New York and the Sicilian capital, Palermo.

More than 50 members of the notorious Gambino family were held by FBI agents in New York City and its northern suburbs, New Jersey and Long Island.

Police in Palermo said they hoped to bring in 25 to 30 suspects.

'Franky Boy'

The FBI is said to have tracked suspects day and night, eavesdropping with sophisticated surveillance equipment.
New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo
Law enforcement officials in New York announced more than 50 arrests

One of those arrested in the raids in the US was Francesco Paolo Augusto Cali, of the New York Gambino family, known as "Franky Boy".

He is allegedly the "ambassador" in the US of the Sicilian Mafia, the Cosa Nostra, tasked with improving relations between the various families.

At a news conference in New York, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said organised crime was still a problem.

"We like to think it's a vestige of the past," he added. "It's not. It is as unrelenting as weeds that continue to sprout in the cracks in society."

'Boss of bosses' link

The list of charges against associates of the Gambino family include allegations of extortion in the construction industry, loansharking and embezzlement from trades unions.

Map

Several hundred police took part in the Italian side of the operation, mainly in Sicily.

Senior anti-Mafia prosecutor Francesco Messineo told reporters in Rome: "There was an attempt to rekindle ties between Cosa Nostra in Palermo and New York because the Sicilian Mafia wanted to get back into drug trafficking in a big way."

The Italian arrests included suspects connected with "boss of bosses" Salvatore Lo Piccolo, who was seized by the authorities in November.

He took over after the arrest in 2006 of Bernardo Provenzano who had spent decades in hiding.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Police carry out arrests in the US and Italy



SEE ALSO
Mafia men get 300 years in jail
16 Nov 06 |  Europe
Profile: Bernardo Provenzano
11 Apr 06 |  Europe



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