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Italian Police Arrest Mafia's 'Boss of Bosses'


Italian police have arrested Bernardo Provenzano, known as the Mafia's boss of bosses. Provenzano was Italy's most wanted man, and has been on the run for more than 40 years.

He had been on the run for 43 years. Bernardo Provenzano, the purported chief of the Sicilian mafia, was arrested in a farmhouse near the town of Corleone, in Sicily.

Police said he refused to speak to the arresting officers, but offered no resistance. He was taken to a secret location.

Nicknamed "The Tractor," because of the way he mowed down enemies of the Corleone clan when he was young, 73-year-old Provenzano is believed to have taken over the command of the Mafia in 1993, after Toto' Riina was arrested in the Sicilian capital, Palermo.

Italian politicians applauded the arrest of Provenzano. Enrico La Loggia, a senator from Sicily, expressed satisfaction over the arrest of what he called the most dangerous fugitive in the history of Italy.

He said, "It is a great satisfaction, not only as a Sicilian, but as an Italian citizen, and as a member of the Berlusconi government." He added that it is another important success of the Berlusconi government in the fight against organized crime.

The last picture police had of Provenzano was taken in 1959 when he was 25. Authorities say they no longer knew what he looked like, but confirmed his identity with a DNA test.

Until his arrest, investigators were using computer-aided simulations to guess at his present appearance. Provanzano is said to have used disguises, including dressing as a bishop, to avoid capture. He was wanted since 1963.

Investigators believe he spent most his life moving freely from house-to-house across Sicily, thanks to an unwritten "code of silence" among Sicilians, who did not turn him in to the authorities.

Authorities say Provenzano communicated using small notes, called 'pizzetti', and avoided the use of modern technology, such as mobile phones. Often, the police appeared on the verge of arresting him, but he always seemed to manage to escape at the last minute.

Provenzano has been sentenced in absentia to life in prison, in connection with the Mafia's most notorious crimes during the past decades. These include the killings in 1992 of Italy's top anti-Mafia magistrates, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.

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