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Police in Sicily said Sunday they had arrested a top Mafia turncoat and his father days after putting another informant back in detention on suspicion of continuing Mafia activity as part of a witness-protection scheme.

The arrest of Santino Di Matteo on charges of possessing arms and ammunition dealt a new blow to the 13-year-old "pentiti" or turncoat system that has proved the Italian state's most powerful weapon in its war on the mob.

Earlier Sunday, police arrested Di Matteo's father, Giuseppe, after arms were found on his property in Altofonte, near the Sicilian capital, Palermo.

Santino Di Matteo had been involved in an all-night questioning session in which magistrates put turncoats face to face following the arrest of former mobster Balduccio Di Maggio, which prompted a senior prosecutor to say the Mafia had entered a dangerous new era.

Di Maggio, who betrayed the Mafia's "boss of bosses," Salvatore Riina, and who alleged that seven-time Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti had exchanged a kiss of honor with Riina, was charged with ordering a Mafia killing.

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