A top Mafia boss swallowed secret notes with names and telephone numbers just before he was shot dead by police this week, officials said today.

Daniele Emanuello, boss of a Mafia family in the city of Gela who was one of Italy's 30-most wanted men, was shot on Monday as he tried to flee a police raid on a farmhouse in central Sicily where he had been hiding.

An autopsy showed fragments of the notes still lodged in Emanuello's esophagus, the officials said.

It was not immediately clear whether the fragments were of any use to investigators, however.

The 43-year-old mob boss had been on the run since 1993.

Anti-Mafia police counted the raid among a string of successes against the Cosa Nostra.

On November 5, police arrested Salvatore Lo Piccolo, who had assumed the role of Mafia "boss of bosses" following last year's capture of Bernardo Provenzano.