Convicted mobster Domenico Raccuglia, who has been on the run for 15 years, now faces several life sentences for crimes including the murder of a rival's 9-year-old son, whose body was then thrown into a vat of acid.
Raccuglia was arrested in an apartment in a tiny town near Trapani, where he is believed to have had his power base, police said.
Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni described Raccuglia as Cosa Nostra's No. 2, and hailed his arrest as delivering "one of the hardest blows" to the Sicilian Mafia in the last few years.
Palermo Prosecutor Antonio Ingroia described Raccuglia as a rising star in the syndicate. He was listed as one of Italy's 30 most dangerous fugitives. We have captured one of the absolute heads of Cosa Nostra still in circulation in a moment of (his) ascent in the Mafia hierarchy," ANSA quoted Ingroia as saying.
The No. 1 Cosa Nostra fugitive on the island is considered to be Matteo Messina Denaro, who investigators believe also has his power base in western Sicily