Matteo Messina Denaro, one of the heads of the Cosa Nostra mafia in Sicily and the most wanted man in Italy, was arrested by police while getting treatment at a private health clinic in Palermo, prosecutor Maurizio De Lucia said on Monday.
According to source, De Lucia has been on the run since 1993 and is one of Europe’s most wanted men.
“It Is A Victory For All The Police Forces That Have Worked Together For So Long To Bring The Dangerous Fugitive To Justice,” Italy’s Chief Of Police, Lamberto Giannini, Said In A Statement Congratulating The Carabinieri—Italy’s Military Police—And The Palermo Public Prosecutor’s Office.
On Twitter, government officials hailed the arrest as a “victory” for Italy.
Premier Giorgia Meloni tweeted, “A Huge Victory For The State, Which Demonstrates That It Will Not Surrender To The Mafia.”
Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said that the arrest showed that the government had won its fight against the mafia.
Denaro was sentenced to life in prison in absentia in 1992 for his role in the murders of anti-Mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, and he is suspected of being responsible for dozens of other mafia-related assassinations.
Known as Diabolik, he is considered one of Bernardo Provenzano’s successors and was arrested outside of Corleone, Sicily, in April 2006.
He was arrested early in the morning during a raid by anti-mafia Carabinieri agents.
The prosecutor stated that a possible sighting of the suspect in September 2021 prompted a manhunt and hundreds of tips.
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