Italian police arrest alleged mafia 'godmother' of crime

Maria Licciardi, 70, was arrested as she boarded a flight to Spain

Police in Italy have arrested an alleged top mafia boss. EPA
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Italian police have arrested a reputed top Naples crime boss as she was about to board a flight to Spain.

Officers have described Maria Licciardi, 70, as a “godmother” of crime.

Police from the paramilitary Carabinieri's special operations unit arrested Ms Licciardi at Rome’s Ciampino Airport as she checked in luggage.

Investigators have alleged that Ms Licciardi ran extortion rackets as head of the Licciardi Camorra crime syndicate clan.

“She didn't bat an eyelash when the officers blocked her and served the warrant signed by the Naples prosecutors' office,” ANSA news agency reported in a dispatch posted by the Carabinieri press office.

Ms Liccardi was first arrested in 2001 after she was stopped as she drove a car near Naples and is alleged to be among Italy’s top-30 wanted fugitives.

She was released from prison in 2009, after serving a sentence for Mafia-connected crimes.

Nicknamed “a piccirella”, meaning “a little one”, by mobsters for her petite build, Ms Licciardi is alleged to be one of the victors in a long-running blood feud between alliances of clans that left Naples littered nearly daily with bodies earlier this century, prosecutors said on Saturday.

Naples prosecutors have described Ms Licciardi as a “godmother” in the Camorra syndicate.

Her brother was a clan boss and she made decisions for the crime family along with other clan bosses, prosecutors said.

Updated: August 07, 2021, 5:06 PM