Police in Sicily, Italy, arrested a Cosa Nostra Mafia boss who had been on the run for about three decades, prosecutor Maurizio de Lucia announced Monday, according to CNN.
Matteo Messina Denaro, a fugitive since 1993 and Italy’s most wanted man, was apprehended while receiving treatment at a private health clinic in Palermo, Sicily, de Lucia told the outlet. He was sentenced in absentia to life in prison in 1992 for involvement in the murders of two anti-Mafia prosecutors, with suspected culpability for dozens of Mafia-linked killings. (RELATED: More Chilling Details Emerge From Night Idaho Students Were Murdered)
Messina Denaro received convictions for deadly 1993 bombings in Milan, Florence and Rome and the torture and killing of a Mafia operative-turned-state witness’ young son, overseeing Cosa Nostra racketeering, illegal waste dumping, money-laundering and drug trafficking, BBC News reported. He garnered the nickname “Diabolik” and once said he could “fill a cemetery” with his victims.
“We now know Messina Denaro was being cured for cancer so is quite sick,” University of Essex criminology professor Anna Sergi told BBC News. “That is why people are saying someone within the crime world decided he was no longer useful. This means he was likely still part of structure where there is an exchange of favours between the mafia and state, and where one can be given up in return for something.”
Messina Denaro is believed to have complete information and names of participants in a number of Cosa Nostra’s highest-profile crimes, according to BBC News. Authorities arrested his reported Mafia mentor and 23-year fugitive Totò Riina in 1993.
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