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Top woman mafia boss known as "the little one" sentenced to almost 13 years in Italian prison

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Documenting Italy's bloody battle against the mafia 03:45

An Italian court on Wednesday sentenced Camorra boss Maria Licciardi, one of the few women to lead a mafia clan, to almost 13 years in prison, media reports said.

Licciardi, 71, known as "the little one" because of her small stature, was arrested in August 2021 while attempting to fly to Spain, apparently to visit her daughter.

Police mugshot of Maria Licciardi, taken after her arrest in Italy on June 14, 2021.

"She didn't bat an eyelash when the officers blocked her and served the warrant signed by the Naples prosecutors' office," ANSA news agency reported at the time of her arrest.

At the time, Interior minister Luciana Lamorgese praised the arrest, touting the "determination of the judiciary and the police forces to counter the Camorra organizations that control extensively large territories."

She was found guilty of being the leader of a Camorra clan founded by her brothers and handed 12 years and eight months in jail, ANSA said.

She took over the clan in the Naples suburb of Secondigliano following the death of her brother Gennaro in prison in 1994.

Italy's interior ministry has also described her as the "strategic head" of a group of families dubbed the "Secondigliano Alliance," which is said to control a large part of the organized crime in Naples.

In 2001, she was placed among Italy's top 30 wanted fugitives.

She had previously served eight years in jail.

Licciardi was the inspiration for the chain-smoking female mob boss in the TV series "Gomorrah," according to journalist Roberto Saviano, who wrote the book about the Naples mafia on which it was based.

Naples has been the traditional base for the mafia-type Camorra syndicate, an umbrella for many different clans.

In 2017, police in Italy, Spain and Germany arrested 32 people suspected of trafficking drugs and laundering money in a European operation against the Camorra clan.

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