Gaetano Riina
Mafia boss captured in Corleone, Sicily. Creative Common

In Sicily, the special organized crime unit of the national police scored a huge win this week, capturing Corleone family head Gaetano Riina after three years of investigation.

The Carabinieri -- Italy's state police corps -- arrested Riina in the port town of Mazara del Vallo. He was apprehended along with three other Cosa Nostra members for extortion and criminal association.

Riina is the brother notorious mafia head Salvatore Toto Riina, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1993. Gaetano Riina took over the Corleone crime family after his brother's incarceration. The 79-year-old crime lord was controlling the syndicate from a town 100 kilometers away from Corleone in Sicily.

Despite a recent and successful police crackdown, organized crime remains rampant in southern Italy. The mafia is weakened but still powerful in Sicily, and groups like the Camorra and the 'Ndrangheta are ingrained into Neapolitan society and Calabrese society, respectively.

The Corleone mafia is infamous in Sicily, but famous elsewhere thanks to the 1969 Mario Puzo book The Godfather and the 1972 Francis Ford Coppola film version.