After being on the run for thirty years, the most sought Mafia boss in Italy, Matteo Messina Denaro, was finally apprehended in Sicily.
When Messina Denaro was being held at a private hospital in Palermo, the city that serves as the capital of Sicily, he was undergoing treatment for cancer at the same facility.
It is widely believed that he holds a leadership position inside the infamous Cosa Nostra Mafia. In 2002, he was convicted guilty of multiple murders and given a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
He was apprehended with the assistance of over a hundred members of the armed forces.
According to reports in the Italian media, members of the Carabinieri apprehended Messina Denaro at around 10:00 (GMT) and transported him to an undisclosed location. He is said to have attended the facility under a false name to receive chemotherapy treatment.
People are standing in the street and clapping for the Italian police as they lead Messina Denaro away from the scene of the incident, according to a video that has been widely shared in the Italian media.
The following is a list of the homicides for which he was judged responsible:
The kidnapping, torturing, and assassination of the 11-year-old son of a former Mafia member who turned state witness in 1992, the bombs that murdered hundreds of people in Milan, Florence, and Rome in 1993, and the murder of anti-Mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992.
Messina Denaro famously boasted that he had “filled a cemetery” with the bodies of the persons he had murdered.
Racketeering, unlawful dumping of garbage, drug trafficking, and money laundering were all under the control of the influential leader of the organized crime syndicate Cosa Nostra.
It was reported that he had received these skills from Tot Riina, the boss of the Corleone family, who had been on the run for 23 years before being apprehended in 1993.
The names “Diabolik” and “U Siccu” were given to Messina Denaro by the clans he belonged to. The moniker Diabolik belonged to an unstoppable thief who appeared in a comic book series (Skinny).
It is believed that he was the final member of Cosa Nostra to keep a secret from the organization. The names and addresses of everyone involved in some of the Mafia’s most high-profile crimes, such as the bomb strikes that killed Judges Falcone and Borsellino, are believed to be known to him by several informers and prosecutors.
Since 1993, Messina Denaro had been on the run, but his minions continued to believe that he could still give them orders from hidden locations.
By keeping an eye on persons close to Messina Denaro throughout his career, the Italian police came quite close to apprehending him on numerous occasions.
Because of this, his sister Patrizia and some other people who knew him were arrested in the year 2013 as a result. In addition, the police confiscated Messina Denaro’s lucrative companies, which resulted in him becoming even more isolated.
Because there were not many photographs of Messina Denaro after he went on the run, the police were forced to develop digital composites to piece together an accurate description of his appearance. A recording of his voice was made available to the public in the year 2021.
People in Italy were glued to their televisions on Monday morning as the mafia boss was taken into custody.
For many years, Messina Denaro proved that the authorities could not prevail against the most influential members of organized crime groups.
His arrest will come as a shock to people. Still, it will give them hope that the Mafia can be eradicated even in the southern part of the country, where the government is perceived as primarily absent and useless.
According to a statement made by Anna Sergi, a professor of criminology at the University of Essex, the arrest of Messina Denaro was “symbolic not merely because he was the boss of Cosa Nostra, but also because he was the last fugitive the Italian authorities truly wanted to pursue.”
She reported that everyone in Palermo cheered, and the entire state felt “victorious” because the news appeared to mark the conclusion of something.
However, the circumstances surrounding the arrest are likely to raise several questions.
Prof. Sergi stated that it was still unknown how the morning raid on the clinic took place, who informed the authorities, and, most crucially, how Messina Denaro was able to “run around Sicily for 30 years, presumably secure.”
Since Messina Denaro was undergoing treatment for his cancer, the professor described him as “very sick.” Messina Denaro had cancer. He also stated that many believed that someone involved in the criminal world had concluded that he was no longer helpful to their organization.
“This means that he was probably still part of a system where the Mafia and the government trade favors and where one person can be given up in exchange for something else,” she said. “This means that he was probably still part of a system where the Mafia and the government trade favors and where one person can be given up in
However, during a news conference on Monday afternoon, the Carabinieri gave the impression that they denied that they had been informed of Messina Denaro’s whereabouts. Instead, they chose to highlight the arduous efforts of the investigators, who tracked down the mafia boss in what was described as a “painful and highly delicate” operation.
The authorities claimed that Messina Denaro did not attempt to flee after learning about the operation and that he immediately confirmed to the Carabinieri that he was the one they had been searching for.
In addition, they stated that the individual on the run was “We didn’t locate a broken man. He was neat, had a good sense of style, and was dressed in acceptable attire. We discovered a well-dressed individual who was doing rather well for himself financially.
General Pasquale Angelosanto of the Carabinieri’s ROS special force unit said that Messina Denaro was wearing a Rolex watch worth 35,000 euros ($37,880 or £31,067 at the time) when he was caught.
“It would be a mistake to imagine that the mafia has been beaten,” said Maurizio De Lucia, the prosecutor general of Palermo. “It would be a mistake.”
De Lucia also told reporters that Messina Denaro had spent the past 30 years evading capture in various regions of Italy, the most recent being Sicily.
After the arrest, citizens of varying political persuasions expressed gratitude to the military forces for their work.
A judge and former prosecutor general named Gian Carlo Caselli called the arrest of Messina Denaro an “exceptional…historical event” that could lead to significant changes in the ongoing investigations into the 1993 bombings in Italy that killed ten people.
The President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, extended his congratulations to the Minister of the Interior and the Carabinieri, Italy’s military police. In 1980, his brother Piersanti was murdered by members of the Cosa Nostra.
Giorgia Meloni, the Prime Minister of Italy, visited Sicily today and paid her respects at the memorial for Giuseppe Falcone and the other victims of the explosion that occurred in 1992 close to Palermo. She observed a moment of silence there.
Ms. Meloni thanked the people in the military for helping her catch the “most important member of the mafia criminal group.” In addition, she stated, “This is a significant win for the state.”