Real-life Corleone Mafia godfather arrested in Italy

Italian police have arrested Corleone Mafia chief Gaetano Riina after a three-year investigation. 

The Sicilian town of Corleone was made famous in "The Godfather" trilogy.

The 79-year-old was taken into custody along with three other men Friday, the Daily Telegraph reports. Two of those arrested are his relatives and all four are facing extortion and criminal association charges.

Riina's brother, Toto Riina, is serving life sentences for sanctioning multiple killings while he acted as a Cosa Nostra kingpin. Toto's notoriety earned him the nickname "The Beast".

Italian police say Gaetano Riina took "control of the clan", a clan which still plays a central role in mafia operations despite a growing number of arrests, AFP reports. Riina was arrested in the Sicilian city of Mazara del Vallo, from where he allegedly controlled the clan.

La Repubblica describes Riina as being a kind of reference point for younger Cosa Nostra members as the organisation attempted to regroup after the police crackdown. 

One of Palermo's chief prosecutors, Francesco Messineo, said that this latest operation "shows that Corleone is still an important base for Cosa Nostra."

Italian prosecutor Ignazio De Francisci believes that if the mafia can be eliminated, then his country "can grow", saying that "a Sicily without the mafia will be a Sicilty that can start to develop again."