Italy: Cosa Nostra mafia boss arrested after 30 years

World Monday 16/January/2023 15:49 PM
By: DW
Italy: Cosa Nostra mafia boss arrested after 30 years

Sicily: Italy's most wanted mafia boss, Matteo Messina Denaro, was arrested by the country's carabinieri police after being on the run for three decades, media reports said on Monday.

Messina Denaro, who is an alleged Cosa Nostra mafia boss, was arrested in his native region of Sicily.

What we know about the arrest
Pasquale Angelosanto, special operations commander of the carabinieri, said in a video circulated by police that the carabinieri had "arrested fugitive Matteo Messina Denaro inside a sanitary structure in Palermo, where he had gone for therapeutic treatment."

Messina Denaro was then taken to an undisclosed location after his arrest, Italian state television reported. He had been on the run since 1993 and was number one on Italy's most-wanted list.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said Messina Denaro was the "most significant" mafia boss. She also hailed the arrest as "a great victory for the state that shows it never gives up in the face of the mafia."

Monday's arrest came 30 years after the capture of Salvatore "Toto" Riina, considered the "boss of bosses" of the Sicilian mafia.

Who is Matteo Messina Denaro?
Messina Denaro was a young man when he went into hiding in the early 1990s, but is now 60-years-old. He is considered to be the top Cosa Nostra boss for Sicily and continued to issue commands relating to how the mafia was run in the city of Trapani.

Messina Denaro has already been sentenced in absentia to life in prison for his role in the 1992 murders of two anti-mafia prosecutors, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.

The accused mafia boss faces an additional life sentence for playing a role in bomb attacks in Rome, Florence and Milan that killed 10 people in 1993. That same year, he helped organise the kidnapping of 12-year-old Giuseppe Di Matteo — in a bid to stop his father from providing authorities with evidence against the mafia.
The boy was held in captivity for two years before he was strangled to death and his body was dissolved in acid.

Messina Denaro is also accused of being partly or solely responsible for several other murders in the 1990s.