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Italian Investigators Vow More Mafia Arrests

Italian investigators have identified the villa where the new boss-of-bosses of the Sicilian Mafia, Salvatore Lo Piccolo, was living before being taken into police custody and vow more arrests of Mafia members. Lo Piccolo was arrested Monday and top Italian officials say the criminal organizations has now been left without leadership. For VOA, Sabina Castelfranco reports from Rome.

Italian investigators say there will be more arrests of Mafia suspects following the raid Monday on a country house outside the Sicilian capital which led to the arrest of four of the top 30 most-wanted Mafia suspects, who were holding a summit. Among them Salvatore Lo Piccolo believed to be the new "boss of bosses".

Police say they have now identified the villa where the boss was living and are also analyzing a collection of "pizzini", or notes used by mafia bosses to give instructions, and other documents found during the raid.

Interior Minister Giuliano Amato said Tuesday the fight against the organized crime syndicate will continue in an effort to arrest other members of the Mafia.

Amato said we are continuing with a more intense and effective action that had its climax with the arrest last year of Salvatore Provenzano, who Lo Piccolo is believed to have succeeded as "the boss of bosses."

Italian investigators said the arrest of Salvatore Lo Piccolo, who was a fugitive for over 20 years, was a serious blow to the organization.

The national anti-mafia prosecutor, Pietro Grasso said the provincial commission and management of the strategic direction of the the Cosa Nostra no longer exists for us. He added that it has been completely demolished and there is no known leadership anymore.

But investigators also acknowledged that the Mafia has the ability to re-generate quickly.

Italy's police chief and director of public security, Antonio Manganelli, said the Mafia is no longer a secret sect, which exists as the anti-state. He added that it is still a strong criminal organization, which has consistent influence and an important number of affiliates. But he added, the state has the power to combat it and will continue to do so.