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Italy. The last “big boss” of the Sicilian mafia arrested. Matteo Messina Denaro has been hiding for 30 years

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Sicilian mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, who has been wanted for almost 30 years, has been arrested in Palermo, Italian services announced on Monday. The arrest took place at the private clinic La Maddalena, where the 60-year-old was supposed to undergo treatment. Convicted in absentia of numerous murders, Denaro was believed to be the last “big boss” of the Sicilian Mafia still at large.

“Today, January 16, the Carabinieri arrested the fugitive Matteo Messina Denaro inside the medical facility where he had gone for treatment,” Pasquale Angelosanto, commander of the Carabinieri Corps, told the AGI news agency. According to “La Repubblica”, the arrest of the 60-year-old mafia boss took place around 9:35 am in the private clinic La Maddalena, where Denaro was supposed to undergo oncological treatment. The area of ​​the resort, as well as the nearby streets, had previously been surrounded by over a hundred officers. The arrest was to be accompanied by applause and cheers from La Maddalena’s other patients.

Arrest of Matteo Messina DenaroPAP/EPA/CARABINIERI HANDOUT

Matteo Messina Denaro arrested

Matteo Messina Denaro was the boss of Cosa Nostra and the son of its former boss in the Castelvetrano region, Francesco Messina, known by the nickname “Ciccio”. “Ciccio” was an ally of the famously cruel mafia boss from the Corleone region – Toto Riina, whose protégé later became Matteo Messina Denaro himself.

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After the arrest and death of other “big bosses” of the Sicilian Mafia – Toto Riina and Bernando Provenzano – Denaro came to be regarded as the last “big boss” of the Sicilian Mafia. He went into hiding, but was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for committing or complicity in numerous murders. He was involved in in the murder of the investigating judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992, and the bombings of Milan, Florence and Rome a year later, which killed 10 people.

Matteo Messina Denaro was arrested in PalermoPAP/EPA – Carabinieri ANSA

Denaro was also convicted of the murder of Giuseppe Di Matteo – the 11-year-old son of the “repentant” mafioso Santino Di Matteo, who after his arrest began to cooperate with the police. In retaliation for his father’s acceptance of the role of crown witness, the boy was kidnapped and then strangled. His body was dissolved in a barrel of acid.

Denaro is also charged with running a criminal organization, illegal dumping of waste, money laundering and drug trafficking. “You will hear people talk about me, they will present me as the devil, but all this is not true,” he wrote in 1993 to his then-partner just before starting his life in hiding. He hid from the police for almost the next 30 years, making him one of the most elusive bosses of the Italian mafia.

Matteo Messina Denaro – Progressive PortraitPublic Domain/Polizia di Stato

SEE ALSO: He declared war on the mafia, leaving a crater in the ground. The assassination of Judge Falcone shocked Italy

Italy’s Great Victory

Italian Prime Minister Georgia Melonii described the detention of Denaro as “a great victory for the state, which proves that (Italy) do not give up in the face of the mafia”. In the content of the entry published via social media, the Prime Minister thanked all the police units involved, members of the National Anti-Mafia Prosecutor’s Office and the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Palermo for “capturing the most important representative of mafia crime”.

SEE ALSO: Italian mafioso captured thanks to Google Maps

BBC, PAP, La Repubblica, Il Fatto Quotidiano

Main photo source: PAP/EPA – Carabinieri ANSA

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