Palermo – The lair of Sicilian mafia ‘boss-of-bosses’ Salvatore Lo Piccolo, who was arrested this week, has yielded a mix of the sacred and profane, including a mobster’s list of 10 dos and don’ts such as avoiding pubs and not looking at other mafiosi’s wives.
Strewn amongst pistols, Cuban cigars, bottles of US bourbon whisky and dozens of ‘santini’ – paper card portraits of Catholic saints – police found a type-written paper sheet bearing the ‘Rights and Duties’ for members of Cosa Nostra, news reports said.
The haul was recovered in a villa near Palermo where police on Monday picked up Lo Piccolo, who is believed to have taken over as head of the Mafia following the 2006 arrest of the former ‘capo di tutti i capi,’ or boss of bosses, Bernardo Provenzano.
Besides telling mafiosi of the ‘absolute’ importance of respecting appointments, to ‘never be seen’ with the cops and to ‘always answer with the truth,’ the 10 ‘Rights and Duties’ also bars ‘anyone who doesn’t hold moral values’ from joining the Mafia.
Lo Piccolo who was picked up together with his son Sandro and two other wanted mafiosi, had been on the run for 25 years and is wanted for murder and drug-trafficking.
Investigators believe the 65-year-old boss has been instrumental in re-establishing links between the Sicilian and US mafia, and boosting their stake in the international drugs trade.
According to Italy’s top anti-mafia official, Piero Grasso, Lo Piccolo’s capture has ‘decapitated’ the Mafia’s ruling commission or ‘Cupola’ meaning that the organization could be deprived of a vertical command structure and split up into several competing units.
Experts see no obvious heir to Lo Piccolo or his jailed predecessors Provenzano and Toto Riina, but one name mentioned is that of Matteo Messina Denaro, a don whose turf extends from Trapani in western Sicily to some of Palermo’s neighbourhoods.
More flamboyant than other top mafiosi, the sharp-dressed, sports- car loving Messina Denaro reportedly embodies a new generation of cocky and brash mobsters, at odds with the more reserved style of their predecessors.
It may have been concern from mafia old-timers that the traditions of the ‘Onorata Sioceta’ or Honourable Society, as the Sicilian mafia is also known, are being lost that compelled them to draw up the 10 ‘Rights and Duties,’ some seasoned mafia watchers say.
Â© 2007 dpa – Deutsche Presse-Agentur