Italian police arrested infamous mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro in Sicily after more than thirty years on the run.
Italian police arrested infamous mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, Italy’s most wanted man, in Sicily after more than thirty years on the run.
- More than 100 Italian police officers and members of the armed forces captured the man nicknamed “Diabolik” and “U Siccu” (The Skinny One) at a private hospital in Sicily where he was receiving treatment for cancer.
- Messina Denaro is alleged to be the boss of Sicily’s infamous Cosa Nostra mafia and has been convicted in absentia for numerous crimes including the 1992 assassinations of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Bersellino and a series of deadly bomb attacks in Milan, Florence, and Rome in 1993.
- Based in the western Sicilian town of Trapani, Messina Denaro was alleged to be the top mafia boss in Sicily even during his years as a fugitive. Messina Denaro is the last of the three longtime fugitive Mafia bosses to be captured by Italian authorities.
- Experts told Reuters the capture of Messina Denaro marks the latest blow to the ailing Sicilian mafia, which has been supplanted by newer groups like the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta in recent years.
- According to CNN, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni celebrated his arrest in a tweet: “A great victory for the state which demonstrates that it does not give up in the face of the Mafia.” Her defense minister called it “a sign of a state that wins against Mafia.”
- The Guardian reported Denaro’s arrest was greeted with applause from the other patients in the clinic where he was taken into custody. According to police, Denaro attempted to escape when he was police arriving but was quickly surrounded.
- President of Italy Sergio Mattarella called police personally to congratulate them on the arrest, according to the New York Times. Mattarella’s brother, Piersanti Mattarella, was murdered by the mafia in 1980 while serving as governor of Sicily.
- Fox News noted the arrest of Denaro came exactly thirty years and one day after the arrest of infamous convicted mafia boss Salvatore “Toto” Riina. Riina was arrested on Jan. 15, 1993, in Palermo after 23 years as a fugitive.
- The Wall Street Journal called Denaro’s capture “a historic moment that could help resolve unanswered questions about how the [mafia] operates.” One question that desperately needs answered: How was he able to evade capture for 30 years?
- The Telegraph recalled one of Denaro’s most notorious crimes. The Sicilian mafia boss was convicted in absentia for the kidnapping, torture, and murder of the 12-year-old son of a gangster who turned state’s witness. Giuseppe Di Matto was held captive for over two years before he was strangled, and his remains were dissolved in acid.
© Dominic Moore, 2023