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Italy. The police arrested a Sicilian whose identity was used by the cosa nostra boss wanted for years

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Andrea Bonafede was arrested by Italian police on Tuesday over his ties to Sicilian mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro. The 59-year-old was supposed to enable the long-sought leader of the cosa nostra to lead a peaceful life in the province of Trapani by giving him his identity.

Italian police arrested 59-year-old Andrea Bonafede on Tuesday at the request of Sicilian prosecutors. The 59-year-old surveyor, described as Denaro’s “alter ego”, was charged on Monday with helping the criminal evade arrest and sheltering him as he fled.

Matteo Messina Denaro, the last godfather of the Sicilian Mafia and one of the world’s most wanted criminals, was arrested on January 16 in a private clinic in Palermo where he was undergoing cancer treatment under a false name.

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

Denaro was sentenced in absentia in 2002 to life in prison for killing or ordering the murders of dozens of people. According to investigators, Bonafede lent Denaro his identity, including his ID card and health card. Also the house where the mafia boss in Campobello di Mazara was hiding was registered in the name of Bonafede and bought for cash.

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The arrested man who helped Denaro

Bonafede was questioned by investigators last week, and on Monday a judge ordered his arrest for mafia ties. According to the court, Bonafede “knowingly supported Matteo Messina Denaro for more than two years by lending him his identity, hiding place and vehicles for safe movement.”

Bonafede defended himself by saying that he had met Denaro about a year ago in Campobello di Mazara when he was walking down the street. He explained that Denaro had asked him for help in healing. Doctors say the boss of the Sicilian mafia has colon cancer.

Italian services have discovered the second hideout of the boss of Cosa NostraReuters

However, according to investigators, it is “unlikely that the most wanted criminal in the country would turn to a person he just met on the street for help.”

Authorities say the boss of Cosa Nostra has lived in Campobello for more than a year. Impeccably dressed in designer clothes, he spent most mornings sipping espressos at the local coffee shop, eating at pizzerias, walking the streets, shopping, and saying hello to his neighbors.

New evidence in the Denaro case

On Tuesday, investigators found CCTV footage from a local grocery store showing Denaro shopping three days before his arrest.

The prosecutor’s office is searching the hiding places used by Denaro in a town 11 minutes from his mother’s house. So far, the Carabinieri have found at least three apartments used by the mobster, including one with a secret stash behind a wardrobe.

In the hiding places, prosecutors found luxury clothes, emeralds, diamonds, a poster for Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” and several books, including biographies Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler.

Main photo source: Reuters

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