ROME – Italian police and the FBI carried out a wide-ranging joint operation involving more than 200 police officers on Wednesday following investigations which revealed links between Sicily’s Cosa Nostra and New York’s Gambino crime family. The investigation code-named “New Connection” showed a strong bond being re-established between US and Italian organized crime. Nineteen people were arrested.
The “New Connection” coordinated operation between Italy’s police and the FBI was launched at dawn on Wednesday and targeted the Inzerillo clan in the Sicilian capital Palermo and the Gambino crime family in New York. 19 arrest warrants were issued. The suspects are accused of crimes including mafia association, aggravated extortion and fraud.
The Inzerillo family had been decimated by the late “boss of bosses’ Toto” Riina in a turf war in the 1980s and had been forced into self-imposed exile in the United States. But since 2000, and with Riina’s death in prison in 2017, the Inzerillo family had been looking to reclaim its old business in Sicily helped by powerful allies in New York.
Wiretaps were carried out by the police of members of the Inzerillo family revealing strong ties between Cosa Nostra members in Sicily and organized crime in New York. Their activities involved a wide range of businesses, such as wholesale food supplies, gambling outlets and online betting.
Members of the Inzerillo family had re-built their stronghold in the Palermo area of Passo di Rignano. Among those arrested were Francesco and Tommaso Inzerillo, respectively the brother and cousin of Totuccio Inzerillo, a boss murdered by Riina’s Corleonesi group in the 1980s.
Salvatore Gambino, the mayor of the Palermo provincial town of Torretta, was also arrested with the accusation of external participation in mafia association. The operation also involved the seizure of goods belonging to the suspects worth some 3 million euros.