Audio Sources - Full Text Articles

Sicilian mafia boss arrested after 30 years on the run — the last of Italy’s most-wanted crime lords

Matteo Messina Denaro arrestA screengrab from a video showing Matteo Messina Denaro being escorted by police after he was arrested in Palermo, Italy.

Carabinieri/Handout via REUTERS

  • Matteo Messina Denaro, the boss of Sicily’s Cosa Nostra mafia group, was arrested on Monday.
  • He became a fugitive on Italy’s most-wanted list in 1993, tied to a series of murders and bombings.
  • His capture followed the arrests of other crime kingpins who had been on the run for decades.

The last of Italy’s three long-time fugitive mafia bosses was captured on Monday at a private clinic in Palermo, Sicily, after three decades on the run, Italian authorities announced.

Matteo Messina Denaro, 60, was apprehended while receiving treatment for an undisclosed medical condition at the private clinic, according to Pasquale Angelosanto, who heads up the special operations team for Italy’s Carabinieri.

Denaro initially tried to escape the clinic, but surrendered to authorities without resistance once he realized that the facility was surrounded, The Guardian reported, citing police sources.

A video shared by the Italian newspaper la Repubblica shows people on the street clapping and cheering after Denaro, who was one of the bosses of Sicily’s infamous Cosa Nostra, was apprehended.

—Antonello Guerrera (@antoguerrera) January 16, 2023

Denaro was sentenced to life in prison in absentia for his role in the 1992 murders of two anti-mafia prosecutors, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, and a series of deadly bombings in Florence, Milan, and Rome.

Italian prosecutors also accused Denaro of helping to plan the kidnapping of a 12-year-old boy, Giuseppe Di Matteo, in 1993.

Prosecutors said that the boy was held captive for two years before being strangled and dissolved in acid in response to his father cooperating with the police, according to NBC News.

Denaro has been linked to dozens of other mafia-related murders, per CNN. The Guardian reported that Denaro once bragged: “I filled a cemetery all by myself.”

Matteo Messina Denaro mugshotA handout photo shows Matteo Messina Denaro after he was arrested on January 16, 2023

Carabinieri/Handout via REUTERS

Denaro became a fugitive in 1993, and in 2010 Forbes listed him as one of the ten most-wanted criminals in the world.

He is the last of Italy’s three most-wanted mafia bosses who eluded capture for decades, per Sky News.

Mafia “boss of bosses” Salvatore Riina, who spent 23 years as a fugitive, was captured in 1993. He died in prison in 2017.

Bernardo Provenzano, nicknamed the “Tractor” because he was known for mowing down his victims, was on the run for 43 years before being captured in 2007. He died in prison in 2016.

Denaro was considered one of the successors of Provenzano, according to CNN.

Police had tried to capture Denaro since he became a fugitive in 1993, but he was protected by a network of mafia collaborators in Sicily, The New York Times reported.

Italian authorities were finally able to locate him following a suspected sighting in September 2021, which resulted in hundreds of tip-offs, according to prosecutors, per CNN.

In a tweet on Monday, Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni described the arrest as “a great victory for the Italian state, which demonstrates we should never surrender to the mafia.”

Read the original article on Business Insider