Italy’s most-wanted mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro has been arrested in Sicily after 30 years on the run.
Messina Denaro was reportedly detained in a private clinic in Sicily’s capital Palermo. He is alleged to be a boss of Sicily’s notorious Cosa Nostra mafia.
Italian media reported that he had been receiving treatment when he was arrested just before 10:00 (09:00 GMT) and taken to a secret location by the Carabinieri. Over 100 members of the armed forces are said to have been involved in the arrest.
Messina Denaro was tried and sentenced to life in jail in absentia over numerous murders.
These include the 1992 killing of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, the deadly 1993 bomb attacks in Milan, Florence and Rome, and the kidnapping, torture and killing of the 11-year-old son of a mafioso turned state witness.
The mafia boss also oversaw racketeering, illegal waste dumping, money laundering and drug trafficking for the powerful Cosa Nostra organised crime syndicate. He was reportedly the protege of Totò Riina, the head of the Corleone clan who was arrested in 1993 after 23 years on the run.
Although Messina Denaro had been a fugitive since 1993, he was thought to still have been issuing orders to his subordinates from various secret locations.
Italy’s PM Giorgia Meloni thanked the armed forces for their work in detaining the “most important member of the mafia criminal group”, adding: “This is a great victory for the state.”