ROME – Italy’s No. 1 fugitive, convicted Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, was arrested on Monday at a private clinic in Palermo, Sicily, after 30 years on the run, Italian paramilitary police said.
Messina Denaro was captured at the clinic where he was receiving treatment for an undisclosed medical condition, said Carabinieri Gen. Pasquale Angelosanto, who heads the police force’s special operations squad.
Messina Denaro was taken to a secret location by police immediately after the arrest, Italian state television reported.
A young man when he went into hiding, he is now 60. Messina Denaro, who had a power base in the port city of Trapani, in western Sicily, was considered Sicily’s Cosa Nostra top boss even while a fugitive.
He was the last of three long-time fugitive top-level Mafia bosses who had for decades eluded capture.
Messina Denaro, who was tried in absentia and convicted of dozens of murders, faces multiple life sentences.
He is set to be imprisoned for two bombings in Sicily in 1992 that murdered top anti-Mafia prosecutors, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. Among other grisly crimes he was convicted of the murder of a Mafia turncoat’s young son, who was strangled and his body dissolved in a vat of acid.
The arrest Monday came 30 years and a day after the capture of convicted “boss of bosses” Salvatore “Toto” Riina, in a Palermo apartment after 23 years on the run.