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Cops cuff Mafia Don's crocodile enforcer

Caiman used to 'intimidate' extortion victims

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Italian police and "reptile wranglers" have seized a 1.7-metre-long crocodile allegedly used by a Naples Mafia boss to "intimidate" extortion victims.

Cops raided the villa of Antonio Cristofaro on the suspicion it contained guns and drugs, but instead found the 40kg reptile lounging in a tank on the terrace. The Camorra Don reportedly invited targets to his home and threatened to set the beast on them if they failed to cough cash or "grant him favours".

Cristofaro was not arrested, but is under investigation for "illegal possession of an animal" and possible extortion charges.

Police spokesman Sergio Di Mauro explained that the croc - a caiman species native to Central and South America - had been fed on a diet of live rabbits and mice. The powers that be are unsure how it got to Italy. ®

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