A sprightly 81 year old grandmother has been arrested by Italian police for being - The Godmother.
Calogera Pia Messina, nicknamed Zi Calina (Auntie Calina) took over the Emmanuello family business after police killed her son Daniele Emmanuello in a shoot out at his hideout.
Investigators said that Zi Calina had been running the crime family for two years and she was one of twelve people arrested in a sweep by anti Mafia detectives.
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The police operation, codenamed Cerberus, focused on the town of Caltanissetta on the Mafia's island stronghold of Sicily and also focused on corrupt local politicians.
Detectives said they had wiretapped conversations of local businessmen and politicians with Messina, including a councillor asking her for help because his businessman brother had been beaten up despite being up-to-date with his protection money.
Emmanuello's widow, Virginia La Fede, was also picked up by police after it emerged that she was involved in the collection of extortion racket money.
Anti Mafia prosecutor Domenico Gozzo said: 'Women played a key role in the Emmanuello clan especially after Daniele was killed and the main person was his mother, she was the key Cosa Nostra person.
'Pia Calgero Messina was the one who gave out the orders and how business should be dealt with and who should be paid and who should pay money to them.
Daniele Emmanuello, 43, had been on the run for more than ten years and was on Italy's Most Wanted List, when he was shot in the head after armed officers burst into his isolated farmhouse in December 2007.
He tried to escape by jumping out of a first floor window and was followed into nearby countryside by police who shot him in the head and his body was recovered from a ravine.
Emmanuello had been on the run since 1996 and was wanted in connection with Mafia association, drug trafficking and murder.
Police believe he was also involved in the kidnap and murder of Giuseppe Di Matteo, the eleven year old son of a Mafia supergrass who was held for more than a year before being strangled and his body dissolved in acid.
Emmanuello was held after a tip off to police who circled his hideaway at Villarosa close to Caltanissetta.
Detectives said his empire covered much of south eastern Sicily and his power had grown in recent years to rival the Godfathers of Catania and Palermo.
Emmanuello ran his empire along with his three brothers Nunzio, Davide and Alessandro who are all serving life sentences.
In: News, Other, Other
Tags: Italian, police, bust, Godmother, mafia, granny, grandmother, crime, Emmanuello, family, business, Calogera, Zi, Calina, Pia, Messina
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