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    With God's Help: Sicilian Mafia Reportedly Makes Money Off Religious Fest

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    In addition to the regular drug dealing and gambling rackets of La Cosa Nostra, the clan Noce has managed to earn money on public holidays.

    Italian police on Tuesday night arrested 11 representatives of the Sicilian Mafia Noce, including its bosses and high-ranking members, who organized a local religious festival in order to make money, La Repubblica newspaper reported.

    READ MORE: Berlusconi’s Close Ally Jailed in Italy for Secret Talks with Mafia

    In September 2015, the mafiosi staged a sagra, Italian local festival, in Palermo which was called "The Holy Heart of Jesus." The earnings of which went straight into the pockets of the criminal group. Street merchants were paid daily, whereas the rest of the profits went to the mafiosi. The aim of the mafia's initiative was to get money for the families of the imprisoned members of the criminal group, the media reported.

    According to the media outlet, the priest did not report anything to the police and closed the church while the mafiosi celebrated the feast of "The Holy Heart of Jesus," despite the police department being only 100 meters away from the church. La Repubblica says that he kept silent because he was likely to be intimidated. Subsequently, when the priest was interrogated by the police, he confessed that he had been under pressure by the mafia.

    According to the investigators, the Cosa Nostra has managed to re-establish its influence in the region since 130 of its members were released from jail and returned to criminal activities. About a dozen of them have again entered the leadership of mafia clans.

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    Tags:
    religion, festival, mafia, money, Sicily, Italy
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