Blow to the mafia family of Torretta in Palermo. On delegation of the District Anti-Mafia Directorate, the Carabinieri of the Provincial Command of Palermo have carried out 11 precautionary measures, issued by the investigating judge, against as many suspects, accused in various ways of mafia-type association, possession of drugs, personal aiding and abetting and attempted extortion with the aggravating circumstance of the mafia method. For nine, pre-trial detention was initiated in prison, one ended up under house arrest while for the eleventh the obligation to stay in the municipality of residence began.
The investigations, conducted by the investigative nucleus of the Palermo carabinieri and coordinated by a pool of magistrates headed by the deputy prosecutor Salvatore De Luca, shed light on the structure and criminal activities of a historical articulation of Cosa Nostra Palermitana, the mafia family of Torretta. , inserted in the district of Passo di Rigano. Firmly anchored in the homonymous village, a small village with just over 4,000 inhabitants in the Palermo hinterland, which has always been a mafia stronghold and a point of connection between the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the homologous New York criminal organization, the mafia family of Torretta in the past was distinguished, among other things, for the role of its exponents as guarantors for the return to Italy of the so-called ‘escaped’, that is, the faction defeated and ostracized by the Corleonesi of Totò Riina at the end of the second mafia war.
“This is a prolonged investigative activity that has demonstrated the relations between the Italian mafia and those of the United States, but also, once again, an oppressive penetration into the economic fabric of the community and a pollution of local institutions”. To say it is the general Arturo Guarino, provincial commander of the carabinieri of Palermo, after the blitz. “The carabinieri with their investigations try to free and give dignity to a community that too many times and for too long has been under the pressure of an unbearable hood from the mafia”, he added.
THE HANDS OF THE BOSS ON PROCUREMENT AND ELECTIONS
The control of economic activities related above all to construction, agriculture and livestock breeding, but also the attempt to infiltrate the municipal administration to guide administrative decisions. Nothing escaped the ‘monopoly’ of the Torretta mafia family, hit at dawn by the ‘Crystal Tower’ carabinieri blitz. The investigations, explain the investigators of the Arma, have made it possible to “grasp its ability to forcibly insert itself into the local economic fabric with the imposition of the dealers in the sales and through the direct intervention in the dynamics of the sale of animals and land”.
Not only. “The widespread interference” has also emerged in the dynamics relating to public and private work orders in Torretta and in the neighboring municipalities of Capaci, Isola delle Femmine and Carini, as well as in some districts of Palermo. The attempts to infiltrate the local municipal administration, still a police station, and to direct the related administrative decisions, to modify the outcome of the municipal elections, providing, during the 2018 administrative elections, have also been reconstructed. , support for candidates from opposing sides.
“STRONG LINK WITH THE USA”
The Turret-Usa axis was strong. Between the mafia family of Palermo and the top exponents of the American Cosa Nostra there was “a persistent and solid bond”, capable, on the one hand, of “conditioning, through its own emissaries, the criminal assets of Torretta” and, on the other , “be a source of tension on the occasion of the murder of the New York mafioso Frank Calì, a senior member of the Gambino family in New York. The investigation made it possible to reconstruct the mission in Palermo, at the end of September 2018, of an emissary of Cosa Nostra d’Oltreoceano, welcomed by the leaders of the mafia family of Torretta.
In fact, at the end of September 2018, an emissary from Cosa Nostra d’Oltreoceano arrived in Palermo, welcomed with all the ‘honors’ by the leaders of the Torretta mafia family. “The permanence of the man – explain the investigators of the Provincial Command of the Carabinieri of Palermo – was guaranteed, among others, by the Puglisi brothers (two building contractors from Torretta, ed) who, dividing the roles, took care of taking him into airport and to guarantee his stay in a luxurious villa with swimming pool in Mondello, where he was given a few grams of cocaine as a welcome sign “.
During the period spent on the island, the emissary of the US bosses participated, on 3 October 2018, in a meeting with Raffaele Di Maggio, head of the mafia family of Torretta, in the latter’s home in Torretta and in a second meeting reserved in the area of Baucina. The close bond between the clan and overseas bosses is testified by another episode. In the days following the murder of Frank Calì, head of the Gambino family, which took place in Staten Island (New York) on the evening of March 13, 2019, the son of one of the suspects left for the United States. Returning from the trip, he reported “the climate of deep tension created on the American side – the investigators of the Weapon still say -. At the same time, Torretta recorded the ‘first hand’ comments of some of the suspects who personally knew Frank Calì and who, at first, they feared that the episode could generate a dangerous escalation of violence in which other people close to him, active in the American mafia context, were also directly involved “.
“The investigations restore a renewed vitality to the mafia family of Torretta which, thanks to its ties with its American affiliates and the newfound authority of the leaders of the district, aimed to return to the glories of the past, rising again as a bridgehead between the two souls of Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian one and the overseas one, which have always been two sides of the same coin “. To say it are the investigators of the Provincial Command of the Carabinieri of Palermo.
In the mafia family of Torretta, the historic stronghold of Cosa Nostra, there was a “constant, though bloodless, internal conflict”. This is what emerges from the ‘Crystal Tower’ anti-mafia raid. At the top of the Torretta family, according to investigators, was Raffaele Di Maggio, son of the historic boss Giuseppe called ‘Piddu i Raffaele’ who died in January 2019, helped by Ignazio Antonino Mannino, also with managerial and organizational functions, and by Calogero Badalamenti, an affiliate who had been entrusted with the Bellolampo area. But the investigative activity also revealed the roles of Lorenzo Di Maggio, known as ‘Lorenzino’, released from prison in August 2017 and subjected to special surveillance with the obligation to stay in Carini; Calogero Caruso, known as ‘Merendino’, an elderly affiliate and former figure of the top of the mafia family of Torretta, under which his nephew Filippo Gambino was credited; and Calogero Christian Zito, an affiliate of the family monitored in numerous movements between Sicily and the USA.
The investigations made it possible to outline the structure of the Torretta mafia family and also to identify “the channels of communication with the top exponents of the Mafia district of Passo di Rigano, crystallizing their functions and defining the methods of interaction with the equal urban mafia realities. “, explain the investigators of the weapon.