Police in southeastern Italy have arrested four suspects and seized arms to head off more mafia-style murders.

Carabinieri Col. Marco Aquilio told Sky TG24 TV Saturday the arrests Friday night reflect a government crackdown in the Puglia region after four people, including two innocent witnesses, were slain gangland-style in the Gargano area, the "spur," of the boot-shaped peninsula.

In response, Italy sent in nearly 200 police, including Carabinieri specialized in anti-mafia operations in the mountainous terrain of Calabria, similar to Gargano's terrain and likewise considered a stronghold of organized crime.

Anti-Mafia prosecutors say the dangerousness of Puglia-based mobsters was often underestimated.

For generation's, Italy's southern Adriatic coast, across from the Balkans, has been a landing area for arms and drugs smugglers.