ROME, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Italian police arrested at least 56 people in a huge operation targeting the Sicilian crime syndicate on Monday.
The operation hit leading figures and members of powerful clans in the Agrigento province in southwest Sicily, and raids were carried out in five other provinces as well.
Overall, some 16 mafia "families" were targeted, Italy's military police Carabinieri said in a statement.
Those arrested were variously charged with mafia association, drug trafficking, extortion, fraud, and vote buying.
Among the people brought to jail was 37-year-old Francesco Fragapane, the son of a notorious boss serving a life sentence under a special prison regime required for mafia prisoners.
Since 2012 -- after 6 years in jail for mafia-related crimes -- the man would have "rebuilt and led the alliance of mafia families" ruling over a wide mountainous area around Agrigento, Ansa news agency reported.
The mayor of the small town of San Biagio Platani was also among those targeted in the operation. The official was arrested under charge of external mafia association, for allegedly having sought the mafia's political support in exchange of favors, once elected.
According to prosecutors of the Anti-Mafia District Directorate (DDA) in Palermo coordinating the probe, the mafia group had "close connections with almost all of the other clans in Sicily, and with the 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate" based in the Calabria region.
The investigation unveiled the targeted clans extorted money from at least 27 companies, including cooperatives managing migrant reception centers, police said.
Seven firms belonging to those arrested were seized in the operation, it added.