Monday 16, January 2023, became a special day for Italians as they were stuck to their screens when the news of the arrest of Italy’s most wanted mafia, Messina Denaro, who is alleged to be a boss of the Cosa Nostra. Italian Police have been trying to arrest him for over three decades. Italian investigators often came close to capturing Messina but were empty-handed every time as he was protected by Toto Riina, boss of the Corleone clan.
Although Messina Denaro had been a fugitive since 1993, it was believed that he’d been issuing orders to his subordinates from various secret locations. He was also nicknamed “Diabolik”, the name of an uncatchable thief in a comic book by clans.
How and When was the Arrest made?
As per the information available from the sources, more than 100 officers of the armed forces were involved in the arrest. As per the Italian media, he was captured just before 10:00 in a private clinic in Sicily’s capital, Palmero. Messina was receiving treatment for cancer under a fake name. He often visited the clinic for a course of chemotherapy. Messina, after the arrest, was taken to a secret place by the Carabinieri.
University of Essex criminology professor Anna Sergi on Messina’s arrest, told BBC that it was “symbolic not just because he was the boss of Cosa Nostra, but because he represents the last fugitive the Italian state wanted to get its hands on.”
However, Professor Sergi rose to the questions of his arrest as it was still unclear how the raid took place on the clinic, who informed the authorities and how it was possible for Messina to “run around Sicily, presumably protected, for 30 years”.
But on Monday, at a press conference, the Carabinieri denied to received a tip-off on the whereabouts of the mafia and instead praised the hard work of investigators who tracked him down.
Authorities further revealed that Messina did not try to run when he came to know the operation was running and admitted as being the mafia Italy Police had been looking for over 3 decades.
The authorities also revealed that Messina was “looking well, well dressed and wearing high-end clothing”: “We certainly did not find a destroyed man… we found a well-groomed man in a good economic condition.”
Who was Italy’s most wanted Mafia, Messina Denaro?
Messina Denaro, the mafia boss, has been a fugitive since 1993. He is alleged to be a boss of the scandalous Cosa Nostra Mafia and was sentenced to life in jail in 2002 for numerous murders, including the murder of the anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992, the dreadful bombing in Milan, Florence and Rome in 1993, the murder of an 11-year-old son of a mafioso-turned-state witness.
The Mafia boss was also alleged of racketeering, money laundering, illegal waste dumping and drug trafficking. Messina Denaro once blustered that he could “fill a cemetry” with his victims.
He is believed to be the last “secret-keeper” of Cosa Nostra as he holds all the information of the most high-profile crimes by the mafia.