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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Italian Police Arrest Notorious Sicilian Mafia's 'Boss of Bosses'

PALERMO, Sicily -- Salvatore Lo Piccolo, who magistrates believe is the Sicilian Mafia's new "boss of bosses," was arrested Monday after nearly a quarter of a century on the run, police said.

Lo Piccolo, 65, was arrested with his 32-year-old son, Sandro, and two other suspected Mafia bosses.

The four are among the top 30 most wanted Mafia suspects in Italy and were arrested in a raid on a country house outside the Sicilian capital, Palermo, where they were holding a summit.

Police fired a few shots during the raid but no one was injured. As he was being arrested, the younger Lo Piccolo told his father: "I love you, Dad," local media reports said.

Magistrates believe the elder Lo Piccolo, whose Mafia nickname is "the baron," took over the reins of the crime organization after the arrest last year of former "boss of bosses" Bernardo Provenzano.

Provenzano, who was known as "the tractor" because he mowed down his enemies as a young hit man, took on legendary status because he was on the run for 43 years.

"We are really pleased with this operation because these people are not just fugitives but Mafia chiefs who were wielding their power," anti-Mafia magistrate Francesco Messineo told the Italian news agency Ansa.

Sicily's regional governor, Salvatore Cuffaro, said he hoped the arrest of Lo Piccolo would be "a mortal, definitive blow to Cosa Nostra," using the name of the Sicilian Mafia.

Lo Piccolo began his crime career as a bodyguard for a Sicilian mobster and had been on the run since 1983.