Matteo Messina Denaro arrested in Palermo after 30 years on the run
Matteo Messina Denaro is one of Italy’s most wanted criminals and is considered the last “godfather” of the Sicilian mafia. He was arrested in Palermo, Sicily on Monday after 30 years on the run. Denaro is alleged to be a boss of the notorious Cosa Nostra (Sicilian) Mafia, and he was tried and sentenced to life in jail in absentia in 2002 over numerous murders.
Denaro is known for his involvement in multiple homicides, including the car bombings that killed Italy’s most prominent anti-Mafia prosecutors, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, and the abduction, torture and killing of the 11-year-old son of a mafioso-turned-state witness. He was also responsible for the deadly 1993 bomb attacks in Milan, Florence and Rome. Nicknamed “Diabolik” and “‘U Siccu” (The Skinny One), Denaro had been sentenced in absentia to a life term for his role in the 1992 killings, and his capture was a great victory for the state.
Denaro is thought to be Cosa Nostra’s last “secret-keeper”, and he was reported to be overseeing racketeering, illegal waste dumping, money-laundering and drug-trafficking for the powerful organized crime syndicate. He was reportedly the protege of Totò Riina, head of the Corleone clan, who was arrested in 1993 after 23 years on the run.
Despite his long-term status as a fugitive, Denaro had been issuing orders to his subordinates from various secret locations, leading to the arrest of his sister Patrizia and several other of his associates in 2013. Denaro was reportedly detained in a private clinic in Sicily’s capital, Palermo, where he was receiving treatment for cancer. He is now in police custody, and his arrest is a sign of hope that the Mafia can be eradicated from the southern regions of the country.
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