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Man Suspected of Blowing Up Anti-Mafia Judge Arrested With PM-Italy-Drugs

September 29, 1992

CALTANISSETTA, Sicily (AP) _ A man accused of planting the bomb that killed a top anti-Mafia judge in July has been arrested in another victory in Italy’s war against the mob, authorities announced today.

Vincenzo Scarantino, 27, of Palermo was picked up Saturday and charged with complicity in mass murder in the assassination of Judge Paolo Borsellino and five bodyguards, said prosecutor Giovanni Tinebra.

The prosecutor said Scarantino is accused of packing a Fiat 126 car with more than 160 pounds of plastic explosives and parking it outside the home of Borsellino’s mother in Palermo.

The July 10 car bombing came two months after the murder of another top anti-Mafia judge, Giovanni Falcone.

Falcone, his wife and three bodyguards were killed when the Mafia blew up a stretch of highway outside the Sicilian capital.

″A step forward has been made regarding one of the two massacres of Palermo,″ the Italian news agency ANSA quoted Tinebra as telling a news conference.

Tinebra said Scarantino ″belonged to a family investigators have long suspected linked to the Mafia and drug trafficking,″ ANSA said.

The news agency said Scarantino had a police record for theft, robbery and weapons possession.

Tinebra indicated that information from a Mafia informer had helped lead to the arrest. Similar tips are believed to have led to a series of police breakthroughs against organized crime since the government stepped up the fight this summer.

Since Sept. 6, authorities have arrested Giuseppe Madonia, reputedly the No. 2 Cosa Nostra boss, Carmen Alfieri, alleged boss of the Naples Camorra, and three Sicilian brothers reputed to be the Mafia’s leading money- launderers.

Tinebra said Scarantino had not been working alone but declined to elaborate about other suspects.

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