Matteo Messina Denaro, Italy’s Most Wanted Mafioso, Has Been Arrested
Ufficio Stampa Comando Generale Carabinieri / AFP
Mafioso Matteo Messina Denaro, detained with an Italian shooter in Sicily, Palermo. Photo communicated by Italian carabinieri command, 16 January.
MISCELLANEOUS – Italy’s most wanted mobster, Sicily’s Matteo Messina Denaro, on the run for 30 years, was arrested in Palermo, Sicily, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini announced Monday 16 January. At the age of 60, this member of the underworld is known as “Octopus” considered the successors to the great historical leaders of Cosa Nostra: Toto Riina and Bernardo Provenzano, who died in prison in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
“After 30 years on the run, superbost Matteo Messina Denaro has been arrested. It is with great emotion that I thank the women and men of the Nation who never gave up, affirming the rule that sooner or later even the greatest criminal who flees will be caught.”reacted on WhatsApp Deputy Prime Minister of Italy.
The head of government, Giorgia Meloni, welcomed his share “a big win for the country that showed it didn’t give in to the mafia”. On the presidential side, Sergio Mattarella said all ” his congrats” to law enforcement. In the 1980s, his brother Piersanti, at the time president of the region of Sicily, was shot by the underworld.
Matteo Messina Denaro was arrested in a clinic in Palermo, Carabinieri General Pasquale Angelosanto said in a video statement shared with the press. “Today, January 16, the Carabinieri (…) arrested the fugitive Matteo Messina Denaro inside the health facility in Palermo where he was undergoing clinical therapy”he determined.
According to Italian press agents, it was the La Maddalena clinic where she was being treated, under an assumed name, for colon cancer.
A criminal sentenced to life
In the list of the six most wanted criminals of the Interior Ministry in Italy, Matteo Messina Denaro, born in April 1962 near Trapani, Sicily, ranks first. Heir of bygone eras of “ the great historical power of Cosa Nostra »“ it was the last, toughest, “purest” Sicilian mafia left”recalls criminologist Anna Sergi, a mafia specialist.
Polizia Di Stato
Photo of mafioso Matteo Messina Denaro published in an Italian state police wanted poster, July 4, 2011.
A former Cosa Nostra trigger and lover of luxury clothing and cars, he was sentenced in absentia in 2000 to life imprisonment for murder. So far, the only known photos of him are from the early 1990s.
Over the years hundreds of policemen and carabinieri have been involved in the hunt for Italy’s most notorious fugitive. Since the 2000s, Italian police have doubled down on arrests and property seizures in his entourage, in an isolation strategy that took nearly 20 years to bear fruit, so important is his support network.
The capture at a symbolic time
His symbolic arrest came a day after the 30th anniversary of the arrest of Toto Riina, nicknamed “ belva » (beast) and who has reigned terror for 20 years in Cosa Nostra, which he has controlled since the 1970s.
Matteo Messina Denaro was one of the Cosa Nostra’s last major figures, largely destroyed by relentless state operations following the 1992 murders of judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. In December 2018, Italian police arrested several dozen Sicilian mobsters, including Settimo Mineo, a jeweler 80 years old at the time, head of the district of Paglarelli (near Palermo) and considered by the courts to be the new godfather of the Palermitan mafia. .
Nicknamed “ Zio Settimo » (“Uncle Setimo”), he was elected in May 2018 to replace Toto Riina, who died in prison in 2017, during a secret meeting at the Dome. This is a commission of mafia bosses whose role is to ensure compliance with Cosa Nostra rules and resolve disputes between families.
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