Italy’s Most-Wanted Mafia Boss Matteo Messina Denaro Arrested
Italy’s most-wanted mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro is no longer on the run. He was arrested Monday in Sicily after 30 years evading law enforcement agencies.
BBC reports the fugitive was detained by the Carabinieri military police in a private clinic in Sicily’s capital, Palermo, where he was receiving treatment for cancer.
He is alleged to be a boss of the notorious Cosa Nostra mafia and he was tried and sentenced to life in jail in absentia in 2002 over numerous murders.
Italy’s PM Giorgia Meloni thanked the armed forces for their work in detaining the “most important member of the mafia criminal group”, adding: “This is a great victory for the state.”
Video of the suspect under guard was released by politician Matteo Salvini:
Grazie a chi non ha mai mollato, a partire dagli eroi in divisa. 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/sKUiVJsTyA
— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) January 16, 2023
The BBC sets out among the murders he was convicted over are the 1992 killing of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, the deadly 1993 bomb attacks in Milan, Florence and Rome, and the kidnapping, torture and killing of the 11-year-old son of a mafioso turned state witness.
Messina Denaro once boasted he could “fill a cemetery” with his victims.
Clans nicknamed Messina Denaro “Diabolik” – the name of an uncatchable thief in a comic book series – and “U Siccu” (Skinny).
He is thought to be Cosa Nostra’s last “secret-keeper”.
Many informers and prosecutors believe he holds all the information and the names of who were involved in several of the most high-profile crimes by the mafia, including the bomb attacks that killed magistrates Falcone and Borsellino.
Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, whose brother Piersanti was killed by Cosa Nostra in 1980, congratulated the minister of the interior and the Carabinieri.