Italy’s most wanted mobster, Sicilian Matteo Messina Denaro, on the run for 30 years, has been arrested in Palermo, Sicily, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini announced on Monday.
Matteo Messina Denaro, 60, is considered the successor of the great historic leaders of Cosa Nostra, Toto Riina and Bernardo Provenzano, who died in prison in 2016 and 2017.
“After 30 years on the run, the superboss Matteo Messina Denaro has been arrested. It is with great emotion that I thank the women and men of the State who have never given up, confirming the rule that sooner or later even the biggest criminals on the run are arrested”, reacted on whatsapp Mr. Salvini.
“It’s a beautiful day for Italy and one that serves as a warning to the mafia: the institutions and our heroes in uniform never give up,” concluded Mr. Salvini.
“Today, January 16, the carabinieri (…) arrested the fugitive Matteo Messina Denaro inside a health facility in Palermo where he had gone to follow clinical therapies”, specified the general from the Carabinieri Pasquale Angelosanto to the AGI agency.
On the Interior Ministry’s list of Italy’s six most wanted criminals, Matteo Messina Denaro, born in April 1962 near Trapani, Sicily, ranks first.
A former Cosa Nostra trigger, he had been sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for murder. But the only known photo of him dates back to the early 1990s.
For many years hundreds of police and carabinieri have been involved in the hunt for Italy’s most notorious fugitive.
Since the 2000s, the Italian police have multiplied the arrests and seizures of property in his entourage, in a strategy of isolation which took nearly 20 years to bear fruit, so important was his support network.