Crime & Justice

Most-wanted Mafia boss hideout found in Sicily’s Trapani

Rome, Jan 17 (EFE).- The hideout belonging to the convicted head of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra Mafia, Matteo Messina Denaro, was found in the Sicilian city of Campobello di Mazara, just a few kilometers from his hometown Castelvetrano in Trapani province, Italian police said Tuesday.

The apartment was located and searched Monday night after the most-wanted Mafioso was apprehended at a private health clinic in Palermo where he was being treated for colon cancer under the false name of Andrea Bonafede.

He had been on the run for 30 years.

The “hideout is actually a house in which Matteo Messina Denaro lived permanently for some time,” head of police operations Pasquale Angelosanto told SkyTg24.

So far, no weapons or secret documents detailing crimes were found in the house, only a watch worth 35,000 euros, perfumes and some clothes, local media said.

Giovanni Luppino, an olive farmer who was driving Messina Denaro to the clinic, was also arrested. He is originally from Campobello di Mazara, a Sicilian town of about 11,000 inhabitants where the investigations were opened after 60-year-old Messina Denaro’s capture.

Messina Denaro, believed to be the boss of bosses in the Sicilian Mafia, had been on the most wanted list since 1993 for his alleged role in a series of bombings carried out by the mafia and has been convicted in absentia for several murders.

Angelosanto said in a press conference there had been investigations over the years but they recently shifted their attention to Messina Denaro’s health condition because it was known he was ill.

Messina Denaro, according to police chief Alberto Arcidiacono, did not pretend to be someone else because “there was a little to verify by just looking at him,” thanks to his robot portraits.

Italian anti-mafia politician Pietro Grasso told Efe in an interview that he believes Messina Denaro will not reveal any of Cosa Nostra’s secrets to the authorities.

“I hope he will collaborate, but I think he will not. It would be very important for the state, but it will not be like that. Not even his illness will push him to collaborate because he will receive the same care as anyone else. For me it is almost impossible,” Grasso said.

On how a mafia leader such as Messina Denaro can elude authorities for decades, Grasso explained that the Mafioso “was considered a benefactor, one who gave opportunities to people to earn money, whether or not they belonged to the criminal association.”

Messina Denaro arrived Monday night in Abruzzo and is believed to have been transferred to the maximum security prison of L’Aquila, which houses more than 100 inmates.EFE


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