Monday, December 3, 2007

Mafia Boss Arrested While Watching Mafia TV Show

PALERMO, Italy (Reuters) - Italian police burst into the room of a suspected Mafia mobster in Sicily and arrested him as he watched a television show about the arrest of a Mafia boss, investigators said Friday.

Police said Michele Catalano was watching the concluding chapter late Thursday of the TV mini-series "The Boss of Bosses," recounting the arrest in 1993 of real-life Cosa Nostra leader Salvatore "Toto" Riina, when he was detained.

They Catalano, 48, was suspected of being a senior commander serving under the latest "boss of bosses" Salvatore Lo Piccolo, who was arrested this month after nearly 25 years on the run.

Catalano faces charges of drug trafficking and extortion.

Lo Piccolo had taken over the reins of the Sicilian crime syndicate from Riina's successor Bernardo Provenzano, who was arrested last year after 40 years on the run. The arrests have seriously weakened the Mafia, police say.

Politicians and cultural figures criticized Channel 5's mini-series for portraying Riina as a hero and lobbied its owner Mediaset, belonging to former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, to take the final episode off the air. Mediaset declined.

Nicknamed "the Beast" for his brutality, Riina has been convicted on more than 100 counts of murder.


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