Police seize cache of drugs branded with photos of Mafia leaders — including "Cosa Nostra" fugitive who was recently arrested – CBS News

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By Stephen Smith
/ CBS News
Police in Italy said Tuesday that officers found a large cache of drugs in packaging decorated with images of notorious Mafia leaders — including the “Cosa Nostra” boss who was recently arrested after 30 years on the run. A 28-year-old man was arrested nearby after officers said they found 50 grams of pure cocaine in his pocket.
Officers seized pure cocaine, hashish and marijuana worth about $215,000 from a warehouse in Marsala, Sicily, Carabinieri police said in a news release on Tuesday. A vacuum packing machine, two electronic scales and materials used for cutting the drugs were also found, police said.
The drugs were allegedly wrapped in cellophane and branded with the faces of Matteo Messina Denaro and Salvatore “Toto” Riina. At least one of the drug packages was decorated with a photo of Al Pacino’s character from “The Godfather,” according to images released by police.
Riina was the Sicilian Mafia’s “boss of bosses” who died in 2017. He had been serving multiple life sentences as the mastermind of a strategy to assassinate Italian prosecutors and police officers who tried to dismantle the “Cosa Nostra” Sicilian crime syndicate depicted in “The Godfather.”
Messina Denaro was Italy’s most-wanted fugitive until he was arrested in January. His arrest marked the end of an era for the Cosa Nostra.
Messina Denaro had been sentenced in absentia to life in prison for the 1992 murders of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, whose murders shocked the nation and led to stricter anti-mafia legislation. He was also convicted of dozens of other murders, including that of the young son of a turncoat; the 12-year-old boy was held prisoner for two years before he was strangled and his body dissolved in acid. 
Tuesday’s police raid took place in Trapani, where Messina Denaro allegedly spent most of his time on the run, Reuters reported.
Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com.
First published on March 21, 2023 / 10:36 AM
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