Catania (Italy), Nov 30 (IANS/AKI) Police in the eastern Sicilian port city of Catania on Tuesday arrested six mafia suspects accused of extorting thousands of euros per month in 'protection money' from local builders and shopkeepers.
The suspects aged between 37 and 62 were taken to prison in Syracuse and Caltagirone.
The arrests came after four businessmen reported their alleged extortionists to police, prompting an investigation by anti-mafia prosecutors in Catania.
The suspects allegedly extorted between 1,000 and 5,000 euros per month from the businessmen, using threats, intimidation and even physical violence, according to investigators.
One of the businessmen's cars was stolen and set alight by the suspects, police said.
The suspects face charges of associating with the Sicilian mafia's Santapaoloa-Ercolano clan based in the province of Catania.
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