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Thursday, 21 May 2009

Italian police on Thursday seized millions of counterfeit dollars, an arsenal of weapons and a fake police uniform from a top Cosa Nostra family

12:16 |

Italian police on Thursday seized millions of counterfeit dollars, an arsenal of weapons and a fake police uniform from a top Cosa Nostra family.
They said the operation indicated the clan was gearing up for a war for control of organised crime in the Sicilian capital.Two sawn-off shotguns, a pump-action shotgun, a .357 magnum revolver and thousands of rounds of ammunition were found stashed inside walls in two Palermo homes.
The ten million of fake dollar bills are believed to have been stockpiled by late boss Gaetano Lo Presti to fund a looming war, police said.There have been several recent sweeps that have provided evidence of moves to claim the Palermo throne from the jailed dons once commanded by ex-boss of bosses Bernardo Provenzano.Provenzano was arrested three years ago after 43 years in hiding.
Cosa Nostra is not thought to have elected a supreme boss to replace him but the Palermo post is up for grabs, police say.Thursday's operation was hailed by Anti-Mafia Commission member Carlo Vizzini who said it showed evidence of links with Cosa Nostra in the United States but also ''signs of desperation''.''We want to see poor Mafiosi on the outside and the others in jail under the new toughened high-security regime,'' he said.The former head of the parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission, Giuseppe Lumia, also praised the police for an ''excellent'' operation.But Lumia, a member of the centre-left opposition Democratic Party, urged the government to crack down harder by making it compulsory for businesses to report Mafia attempts to obtain 'protection' money.He also said police should be able to key into Mafia bosses' bank accounts and other asset records as envisaged by a new European Union directive which Italy has yet to incorporate into law.

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