Six mafia suspects held in Sicilian bust

Six mafia suspects held in Sicilian bust

Police in Sicily on Tuesday arrested six suspected mafia members including a local boss with alleged direct links to boss of bosses' Matteo Messina Denaro during a major operation that targeted the Alcamo crime family.

Sixty-one-year-old Alcamo boss Ignazio Melodia and five other mafia suspects were held in raids in the area around the western Sicilian port city of Trapani, police said.

The suspects face charges of mafia association, extortion against local businessmen and vote-buying in the town of Alcamo's local elections, police said.

"The mafia's persisting grip on the local economy and its bid to infiltrate town councils has come to light once again," Trapani police chief Maurizio Agicola told Adnkronos.

"This behaviour is made all the more dangerous by the criminal intellect of the suspects involved, most notably Alcamo boss Ignazio Melodia," he added.

To avoid bugging devices, Melodia and his fellow mafia suspects met in a cold store belonging to a local grocer, wearing winter coats to keep warm, even in the Spring, investigators said.

For this reason, the operation that led to Tuesday's arrests was called 'Freezer', police said.

'Freezer' followed a probe spearheaded by anti-mafia prosectors in Trapani.