Sicilian Mobsters Went to Great Lengths to Foil Cops -- Unsuccessfully

An unassuming fruit and vegetable shop in western Sicily near Trapani included a massive refrigerator attached to it.

Located in the middle of mob boss Matteo Messina Denaro's home turf, the refrigerator did more than it was intended to. In fact, the cooling unit served double duty as a meeting place for six alleged members of Denaro's Mafia clan.

Meeting in the fridge -- six alleged members of Messina Denaro's
Mafia clan were caught holding important meetings inside a refrigerator.

The alleged mobsters believed that the refrigerator's thick insulation served as an effective buffer against Sicilian law enforcement, otherwise referred to as the anti-mafia police.

It wasn't that effective at all.

Detectives learned about the secret refrigerated meetings and planted recording devices within as part of Operation Freezer, the actual codename. (How did the anti-mafia police learn about the meeting place? One news report may have indirectly revealed the "how" part by noting that two business owners who'd been extorted by the alleged Mafiosi were "crucial to the success of the operation.") 

The six alleged mobsters were arrested and charged with mafia association, extortion, and interference with local elections.

Among those arrested was 61-year-old reputed mobster Ignazio Melodia, aka U Dutturi The Doctor in Sicilian (he once trained as a medic), who was recorded boasting to a businessman: "I control half of Trapani province."

Melodia had gotten out of prison in 2012 after serving a 10-year sentence.

Messina Denaro has become a legendary figure in Sicily. Considered the Sicilian Cosa Nostra's boss of bosses, he reportedly revels in his nickname, Diabolik, an Italian comic book character.

On the run since the 1990s, Denaro once claimed: "I filled a cemetery all by myself."

Denaro is believed to be hiding in western Sicily under the protection of loyal cohorts.

He is believed to be involved in as many as 50 murders.

The more interesting part of this news -- reported this week -- is that there's no mention regarding how long the tapes rolled.

And whatever these men were recorded saying, nothing has been revealed publicly.

First, his olive oil companies were seized -- and now this.... Are Sicilian police close to catching Diabolik?