Operation Xydi – 28 mafiosi and associates face trial in Palermo

The antimafia maxi-investigation Xydi has finally reached court. Palermo Judge, Paolo Magro, has ordered the indictment of nine of the thirty initial defendants involved in the investigation into the mafia of Canicattì and the various other mafia families in the territory.

The Hidden Hand of Italy’s Most Wanted fugitive – Matteo Messina Denaro

The Agrigento mafia had reorganized itself under the direction of Italy’s Most Wanted fugitive, Cosa Nostra boss-of-bosses Matteo Messina Denaro and his loyal follower mafia boss Giuseppe Falsone, who is currently serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison, as provided for by the 41 bis law.

The Canicattì cosca was led by elderly boss Calogero Di Caro and by the mafia entrepreneur Giancarlo Buggea who, after being released from prison, returned to work with Angela Porcello, a lawyer who exploited her profession in order to meet Giuseppe Falsone in a maxi-security prison and act as his messenger.

Operation Xydi - 28 mafiosi and associates face trial in Palermo
Operation Xydi defendants face the court in Palermo

It is also alleged that Buggea and Porcello formed an alliance with a police inspector on duty at the Canicattì police station – Filippo Pitruzzella, who know stands accused of collaborating with the mafia and of revealing confidential information regarding ongoing investigations and police activities.

Another two lawyers from Canicattì – Annalisa Lentini and Calogero Lo Giudice – also stand accused for collaborating with Angela Porcello and falsifying the date of dispatch of a registered letter in order to rectify an error made by Porcello that resulted in her client missing his opportunity to appeal his conviction.

The Defendants caught in the net of Operation Xydi

Xydi Defendants opting for the full trial procedure

The first hearing of the full trial for the following 9 defendants was set for March 23 before the judges of the second criminal section of the court of Agrigento chaired by Wilma Angela Mazzara. They are:

  1. Giuseppe Falsone, lifer boss of Campobello di Licata and provincial head of the Cosa Nostra until 2010, when he was captured after 12 years in hiding; 
  2. Antonino Chiazza, 51, from Canicattì; 
  3. Pietro Fazio, 48, from Canicattì; 
  4. Santo Gioacchino Rinallo, 61 years old from Canicattì; 
  5. Antonio Gallea, 64 years old from Canicattì; 
  6. Filippo Pitruzzella, 60, retired police inspector; 
  7. Stefano Saccomando, 44 ​​years old from Palma di Montechiaro;
  8. Calogero Lo Giudice, 47 years old from Canicattì; 
  9. Calogero Valenti, 57 years old, residing in Canicattì.
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Xydi Defendants opting for the Fast-Track Abbreviated Trial procedure

The following 19 defendants have opted for a fast-track abbreviated trial. In their case the hearing will continue on March 17.

  1. Giancarlo Buggea, a Canicattinese entrepreneur, a top figure in the investigation and former partner of the lawyer Porcello; 
  2. Angela Porcello herself, 51 years old;
  3. Luigi Boncori, 69, from Ravanusa; 
  4. Luigi Carmina, 55, from Caltanissetta; 
  5. Simone Castello, 71 of Villafrati; 
  6. Emanuele Cigna, 21, from Canicattì; 
  7. Giuseppe D’Andrea, 50, assistant chief of police, from Agrigento; 
  8. Calogero Di Caro, 74, boss of Canicattì; 
  9. Vincenzo Di Caro, 40 years old from Canicattì; 
  10. Gianfranco Gaetani, 53, from Naro; 
  11. Giuseppe Grassadonio, 50 years old from Agrigento; 
  12. Annalisa Lentini 41 years old from Agrigento; 
  13. Gaetano Lombardo, 64, from Favara
  14. Gregorio Lombardo, 66, from Favara;  
  15. Antonino Oliveri, 36, from Canicattì; 
  16. Calogero Paceco, 56, from Naro; 
  17. Giuseppe Pirrera, 62, from Favara;
  18. Giuseppe Sicilia, 42, from Favara. 

Operation Xydi also uncovered details of the new Stidda clan that opposed the Cosa Nostra family, as well of details of an extortion racked in the agriculture sector.

Giuseppe Grassadonio, a penitentiary police officer, stands accused of aggravated exposure of state secrets. He allegedly warned Porcello about the imminent prison transfer of Giuseppe Puleri, a loyal relative of Giuseppe Falsone.

The now former lawyer, Angela Porcello, has informed the court that she is willing to turn state witness. 

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