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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Code Words and Sign Language Used to Run Mafia from Maximim-Security Prison

A father and three sons used code words and sign language to run their Sicilian Mafia clan from a maximum-security prison, Italian police said Tuesday.

Francesco Madonia, the head of the Madonia clan, died in prison in 2007. Investigators say that a year before his death he ordered the death of the head of another clan leader after he and Palermo boss Salvatore Lo Piccolo decided he was not competent, the news agency ANSA reported.

Madonia and his sons were being held under restrictions known as 41-bis that include limited visits. Inmates under 41-bis are unable to make any purchases or to receive packages, are held in single cells and can mix with no more than five other inmates during the four hours a day they spend outside their cells.

Maria Angela Trapani, a Madonia wife who allegedly carried orders out of prison, was arrested Tuesday.

The Madonias allegedly evaded the 41-bis restrictions with code language and mime. Questions about the elder Madonia's wife's health, for example, were actually about the family extortion business, and Lo Piccolo, who was arrested last year on a murder charge, was referred to as "Auntie Rosalba."

Thanks to UPI

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