Italian police have arrested 22 suspected Sicilian Mafiosi as part of an ongoing operation aimed at capturing Italy's most-wanted Mafia fugitive Matteo Denaro.

The raids Thursday in the Trapani province in western Sicily attacked the network of "pizzini," the system of paper notes that support Denaro's flight. Police said their aim is to "progressively take away power from the criminal organization and impoverish its economic resources."

Denaro, a fugitive since 1993, is considered a possible successor to the "boss of bosses" Salvatore "Toto" Riina, who died last year in custody while serving 26 life sentences.

The operation was the latest move to root out Denaro, 55, who has long evaded arrest for his role in the bombing assassination of magistrates in the 1990s, along with other Mafia hits and crimes.