Italian police have arrested an organized-crime boss who had been on the run for eight years to avoid prison.

Antonio Rusmini was caught in a predawn raid Monday in the southern Calabria region. 

He had been a fugitive since 1996, when he was sentenced to life in prison for murdering several other mobsters in 1989.

Rusmini headed a crime gang in Calabria that is said to control much of Europe's illicit trade in drugs and weapons.  Calabria's mobsters reputedly are now a more influential criminal syndicate than Sicily's Mafia, which was known for many years as the most powerful underworld group.

Some information for this story provided by AP and AFP Reuters.