• Reputed top Naples crime syndicate boss Maria Licciardi, 70, was arrested Saturday 
  • She was nabbed by Italian police at Ciampino airport in Rome as she checked in luggage for a flight to Spain
  • Licciardi allegedly ran extortion rackets as head of the Licciardi Camorra crime syndicate clan in Naples

Italian police arrested a suspected top Naples crime boss as she was about to board a flight to Spain this week, authorities said.

Maria Licciardi, who allegedly ran extortion rackets as head of the Licciardi Camorra crime syndicate clan, was nabbed at Ciampino airport in Rome as she checked in her luggage on Saturday morning, The Guardian reported, citing a dispatch issued through the Italian news agency ANSA.

Police from the paramilitary Carabinieri’s special operations unit said the 70-year-old woman “didn’t bat an eyelash when the officers blocked her and served the warrant signed by the Naples prosecutors’ office,” ANSA stated.

Licciardi, from Naples, is accused of mafia-type association, extortion, receiving ill-gotten funds and auction rigging.

Licciardi was allegedly heading to Malaga in southern Spain to visit her daughter and to “attend to some business,” Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported.

Italy's interior minister, Luciana Lamorgese, praised the arrest of Licciardi, saying it demonstrated “the commitment and determination” of police to “counteract the Camorra organizations that widely control large territories and manage illicit affairs,” Sky News reported.

Prosecutors alleged that Licciardi was one of the victors in a long-running blood feud between alliances of clans that left Naples littered nearly daily with bodies earlier this century.

Licciardi was first arrested in 2001 after she was stopped as she drove a car near Naples, the Associated Press reported at the time. She had been on the run since 1999 and at the time figured on the list of Italy's top 30 wanted criminals.

Licciardi allegedly took over as boss of their clan's Naples-based crime syndicate after her two brothers were arrested and ran their lucrative rackets.

Licciardi served eight years in jail for several mafia-connected crimes and was released from prison in 2009.

She was given the nickname “a piccirella,” or the little one, by mobsters, for her petite build.

During a 2009 interview with the Associated Press, Naples prosecutors alleged that Licciardi was a true “madrina,” or “godmother,” in the Camorra syndicate.

Traditional sources of illicit revenue for Camorra include the extortion of local business owners, drug trafficking and the infiltration of public works contracts.

Representational Image. pixabay