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Fugitive Mafia Boss Arrested in Italy


A screengrab taken from a video shows Matteo Messina Denaro the country's most wanted mafia boss being escorted out of a Carabinieri police station after he was arrested in Palermo, Italy, Jan. 16, 2023.

One of Italy’s most wanted men, Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, has been arrested.

ANSA, the Italian news agency, reported Monday that the alleged boss of Sicily’s Cosa Nostra mafia, who had been on the run for 30 years, was arrested by police at a private clinic in Palermo.

Italian state television said Denaro was taken to a secret location immediately after his arrest.

Tried in absentia on dozens of murders, including the 1992 deaths of anti-Mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, the 60-year-old Denaro is facing multiple life sentences.

Denaro had once claimed he could “fill a cemetery” with his victims.

A composite picture showing a computer generated image released by tihe Italian Police, right, and a picture of Mafia top boss Matteo Messina Denaro. Italian police say Monday, Jan. 16, 2023.
A composite picture showing a computer generated image released by tihe Italian Police, right, and a picture of Mafia top boss Matteo Messina Denaro. Italian police say Monday, Jan. 16, 2023.

Last September, police said that even though Denaro had been on the run for 30 years, he was still able to issue orders for the Mafia around the western Sicilian city of Trapani.

“In 2015, police discovered he was communicating with his closest collaborators via the pizzini system, where tiny, folded paper notes were left under a rock at a farm in Sicily,” according to an Agence France-Presse report.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said in a statement that Denaro’s arrest is a “great victory” for Italy’s fight against organized crime.

Information for this report was taken from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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