Italy’s most wanted mafia leader Matteo Messina Denaro caught in Sicily
Prosecutor Maurizio de Lucia said Monday that Matteo Messina Denaro, one of the heads of the Cosa Nostra Mafia in Sicily and Italy’s most wanted criminal, was detained by police while receiving treatment at a private health facility in Palermo.
According to de Lucia’s interview, the fugitive had been on the run since 1993 and was one of Europol’s most sought suspects.
Italy’s police head, Lamberto Giannini, released a statement praising the Carabinieri (Italy’s military police) and the Palermo Public Prosecutor’s Office for their efforts in apprehending the dangerous fugitive.
“A great victory for the state, which demonstrates that it does not give up in the face of the Mafia.” Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni tweeted.
Minister of Defense Guido Crosetto hailed the arrest as “a sign of a state that wins against Mafia.”
While Italy has not yet won the “war” against the Mafia, Meloni claimed that this “battle that was fundamental to win.” outside the prosecutor’s office.
A day to rejoice and teach one’s children that the Mafia can be vanquished, she declared.
In 1992, Messina Denaro was granted many life terms in absentia for his various crimes, including his role in the killings of anti-Mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
He was given a life sentence in 2020 for the murderous bombings of Milan, Florence, and Rome in the late 1990s, as well as the murder and torture of the 11-year-old son of an adversary who testified against the Sicilian Cosa Nostra.
He was the most elusive member of Cosa Nostra, having evaded capture for over three decades.
After an early morning raid by more than a hundred anti-Mafia Carabinieri specialists, Messina Denaro was arrested at approximately 10 a.m. local time. His arrest occurred at the Maddalena clinic, a private facility famous for cosmetic and other elective procedures. What sort of care Messina Denaro was receiving is unknown.
A spokesperson for the Carabinieri told on Monday that he is being kept in a “secret location.”