An alleged female mafia boss has been arrested while trying to board a flight to the Costa del Sol to ‘visit her daughter’.
Maria Licciardi, 70, was cuffed at Ciampino airport in Rome Saturday while attempting to fly to Malaga in southern
The powerful boss, alleged to be part of the notorious Neapolitan mafia known as the Camorra, was hoping to visit her daughter and to ‘attend to some business’, according to Italian newspaper
But she was arrested while queueing at the check-in desk by the Carabineros Corps –
Ms Licciardi, known as ‘la piccoletta’ or the little one due to her small stature, was with two associates at the time and went with the officers quietly, according to reports.
She is accused of mafia-type association, extortion, receiving ill-gotten funds and auction rigging.
Maria Licciardi (pictured), 70, was cuffed at Ciampino airport in Rome Saturday while attempting to fly to Malaga in southern Spain.
Ms Licciardi, known as ‘la piccoletta’ or the little one due to her small stature, was with two associates at the time and went with the officers quietly, according to reports
Prosecutors allege she is the boss of the Licciardi clan, which was founded by her brother Gennaro, aka La Scimmia (the monkey), in 1994.
The gang is said to be most active in Secondigliano, a peripheral and rundown neighbourhood in Naples which is believed to be key to the drug trade.
Ms Licciardi previously spent eight years in prison before being released in December 2009 – after which she is alleged to have taken over the clan’s operations.
It comes after Italian investigators warned that its country’s mafias have been eyeing up business expansion in Spain.
General Giuseppe Governale, the anti-mafia director of Italy until 2020, warned that the influence of the Italian mafias was particularly prevalent in the Balearic Islands.
The Camorra has a known presence on the islands, which include Ibiza and Majorca, due to their strategic geographical position, which makes them a port of call for drugs coming from South America.
Palermo prosecutor Francesco Lo Voi also warned mafias will take advantage of the pandemic to buy bankrupt companies in the tourism sector throughout the continent, particularly on the Spanish coast or in France.
Following the death of her brother, Ms Licciardi is said to have taken over the family clan and maintained control by bringing together an informal coalition of 20 other Camorra groups.
This allowed the mafia to expand control of Naples’ most lucrative rackets, inclduing drugs, cigarette smuggling, protection and more.
It is said that the coalition, known as the Secondigliano Alliance, became more organised, secretive and powerful under her leadership.
Known as ‘the godmother’ Ms Licciardi is alleged to have added prostitution to the Camorra’s business empire – despite it going against the organisation’s code.
According to reports, the clan would buy women, many of them underage, from the Albanian mafia.
Ms Licciardi shuns the limelight and has been described as charismatic.
Police sources previously described her as ‘practical, charming, exceptionally intelligent’ but also as ruthless as her male equivalents.
Under her alleged leadership, the clan is said to have created a good relationship with the local community, giving out regular handouts to the neighbourhood poor.
Secondigliano, where the clan is based, has historically been poor with little job opportunities, allowing the organisation to act as a principal source of employment.
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