The identify Matteo Messina Denaro sends shivers down the spines of Sicilians who’ve spent a long time in concern that they might be added to his lengthy checklist of sufferers.
For 30 years, the crime boss persevered to wield large energy and coordinate a long time of terror which resulted within the deaths of over 50 folks, regardless of by no means being observed in public after going at the run within the early 90s.
The mafioso, who as soon as boasted he may ‘fill a cemetery together with his sufferers’, used to be compelled into hiding after he ordered a sequence of fatal assaults, together with the murders of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, in addition to a sequence of vehicle bombs in Florence, Milan and Rome that left 10 folks useless and 93 injured in 1993.
And kids weren’t off limits. In the similar yr, Messina Denaro helped organise the abduction of a 12-year-old boy, Giuseppe Di Matteo, in an try to dissuade his father from giving proof towards the mafia, prosecutors say.
The boy used to be held in captivity for 2 years prior to he used to be brutally strangled to demise, and his frame dissolved in a vat of acid.
For 30 years, Matteo Messina Denaro (pictured within the Nineteen Nineties) has persevered to wield limitless energy and coordinate a long time of terror which noticed over 50 folks killed, regardless of by no means being observed in public after going at the run
Matteo Messina Denaro, Italy’s maximum wished Mafia boss who were at the run for 30 years, used to be arrested nowadays. Pictured: A mugshot of Messina Denaro from nowadays (left) and being led away via cops (proper)
Now, after 3 a long time at the run, Italy’s No. 1 fugitive has finally been arrested by police – at a private clinic in Palermo, Sicily.
The 60-year-old used to be led clear of Palermo’s ‘Los angeles Maddalena’ health center via two uniformed carabinieri police and bundled right into a ready black minivan – doubtlessly last the door on a protracted bankruptcy of blood and violence wrought via the crime boss.
Nicknamed ‘Diabolik’ and ‘U Siccu’ (The Thin One), Messina Denaro were sentenced in absentia to a lifestyles time period for his position within the 1992 murders of the 2 anti-mafia prosecutors Falcone and Borsellino.
The horrific murders had been an indicator for the scary felony. They surprised the country and sparked a crackdown on Cosa Nostra, the real-life Sicilian crime syndicate depicted within the Godfather films.
Messina Denaro used to be born on April 26, 1962 within the small the city of Castelvetrano close to Trapani in western Sicily and grew up within the middle of organised crime.
He used to be the son of influential mafia ‘capo’ (captain) Francesco Messina Denaro, and he temporarily rose during the ranks – and ultimately adopted in his father’s footsteps to turn out to be the boss of Cosa Nostra.
He’s mentioned to have first used a gun on the age of 14 and allegedly killed at 18, and is accused via prosecutors of occurring to be only or collectively chargeable for a lot of different murders within the Nineteen Nineties.
In 1993, Messina Denaro helped organise the kidnap of a 12-year-old boy, Giuseppe Di Matteo (pictured), in an try to blackmail his father into no longer giving proof towards the mafia, prosecutors say. The boy used to be ultimately strangled, and his frame dissolved in acid
Messina Denaro used to be sentenced in absentia to a lifestyles time period for his position in 1992 within the murders of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. Pictured: The scene of the homicide of Falcone in Palermo, Sicily, in 1992
The mafia boss, who comes from the small the city of Castelvetrano in Sicily, additionally faces a lifestyles sentence for his position in bomb assaults in Florence, Rome and Milan which killed ten folks in 1993. The bombs focused a few of Italy’s most famed landmarks
Messina Denaro lived a playboy way of life. He used to be recognized for riding pricey vehicles and for having a style for dressed in finely adapted fits and Rolex watches. As a rising-star within the mafia within the Eighties, he wearing clothier manufacturers Versace and Armani.
His first run-ins with the legislation started in 1989, when he took phase in a bloody battle between two clans.
He used to be accused that yr of murdering Nicola Consales, a lodge proprietor who complained to an worker of at all times having ‘those little mafiosos below our toes’.
Sadly for Consales, the worker used to be Messina Denaro’s mistress.
In 1992, he used to be a part of a mob staff despatched to Rome to check out and kill anti-mafia pass judgement on Giovanni Falcone. The crowd used to be ultimately recalled via Toto Riina, the Corleone boss dubbed ‘the Beast’, who determined on every other method.
Falcone used to be murdered in a automotive bomb close to Palermo on Would possibly 23, 1992.
In 1993, he’s reported to have assassinated rival boss Vincenzo Milazzo. His consideration then grew to become to Milazzo’s pregnant female friend, who he strangled to demise.
The 2 our bodies had been buried within the geographical region.
As head of the Castelvetrano extended family, he used to be allied to the Corleonesi extended family, who had been immortalised within the mythical ‘The Godfather’ motion pictures.
He additionally was one in every of Cosa Nostra’s deadliest infantrymen when a warfare erupted between the mafia and the state over stricter jail rules for convicted gangsters.
Messina Denaro used to be additionally convicted for the homicide of 12-year-old Giuseppe di Matteo, who used to be kidnapped and held captive for 2 years in a bid via the mafia to prevent the boy’s father from attesting towards them to the state.
Finally that point in captivity, he used to be brutally strangled to demise and his frame used to be disposed of in a bathtub of acid.
It used to be in the similar yr that Messina Denaro is accused of getting a task in bomb assaults in Florence, Rome and Milan that killed 10 folks and injured 93.
The assaults had been performed along infamous hitman Giovanni Brusca, who boasted to murdering 200 folks single-highhandedly.
The bomb assaults, that focused a few of Italy’s maximum ancient monuments, compelled Messina Denaro into hiding. He faces a lifestyles sentence for his position.
In 1994 and 1996, statements from mobsters who grew to become state witness shed some mild on his position inside Cosa Nostra. In 2000, after a maxi-process towards the Sicilian Mafia in Trapani, he used to be sentenced in absentia to lifestyles imprisonment.
On the other hand, the sentence and being compelled underground did little to quell his affect within the out of doors global.
A composite image presentations a pc generated symbol launched via the Italian police, proper, of their efforts to trace the mobster down, and an image of Matteo Messina Denaro, left
Pictured: Police reconstructions of the face of Messina Denaro shared to the general public, depicting what he may appear to be nowadays as an older guy, and in gown as a lady
Messina Denaro used to be captured when armed police swarmed a non-public scientific facility in Palermo, Sicily (proven on a map), the place he used to be present process remedy
After ‘boss of bosses’ Leoluca Bagarella used to be arrested within the clampdown that adopted the bombing spree, Messina Denaro used to be taken below the wing of Bernardo Provenzano who would increasingly more seek advice from him as his ‘nephew’.
From there, Messina Denaro labored to convey the mafia into the fashionable age.
He united the scattered mafia clans across the town of Trapiani, shaped connections with Columbia’s cocaine cartels, and cultivated a Robin-hood like standing.
A the similar time, he had a lot of assets of earnings, from drug trafficking to playing, each in Italy and in a foreign country.
However regardless of his popularity as a moderniser, he needed to steer clear of the usage of telephones and the Web to scale back his possibilities of being stuck.
His womanising techniques raised eyebrows a number of the clans extra conservative participants. He fathered a daughter in 1995, which used to be observed as no longer being in line with Cosa Nostra’s extra conventional circle of relatives values.
However, he climbed to the highest. When Provenzano used to be arrested in 2006 after 43 years at the run, Messina Denaro used to be tipped as his obtrusive successor.
And together with his mentor’s demise in 2016 – adopted via the demise of influential godfather Toto Riina a yr later – Messina Denaro used to be all however unopposed at pinnacle of the Sicilian Mafia, and used to be a well-liked determine amongst one of the most locals.
As the online used to be tightening round him, fan pages on Fb sprung up throughout his later years at the run. ‘Cosa Nostra works for the deficient and the oppressed, in the hunt for, in its personal approach, to proper errors,’ one adoring web page discovered via The Guardian in 2014 swooned. On the time, 30 of Messina Denaro buddies had been arrested.
Francesco Garofalo, member of anti-mafia staff Libera, informed the newspaper on the time: ‘What you listen at all times on the town, and on blogs, is how the mafia provides paintings and the federal government takes it away. There are folks right here who want to see Messina Denaro appointed mayor.’
Whilst the arrests had been observed as the start of the tip for the mafia boss on the time, it nonetheless took a few of Italy’s absolute best investigators greater than seven years from that time to in spite of everything get him in handcuffs.
Pictured: Individuals of a Carabinieri police unit acquire out of doors the Maddalena medical institution the place Matteo Messina Denaro used to be captured via particular forces in Palermo, Sicily on Monday
Messina Denaro, proper, is observed in a automotive with Italian Carabinieri officials quickly after his arrest at a non-public medical institution in Palermo, Sicily. He spent 30 years at the run after a string of crimes
Native citizens had been observed cheering and wiping away tears as they felt a wave of aid that Messina Denaro, who had coordinated years of terror, had in spite of everything been captured. Some congratulated cops who were concerned within the operation to arrest him
Investigators spent a long time looking out the houses and companies of the boss’s recognized allies at the island. Regardless of being primary on Italy’s most-wanted checklist, the one recognized picture of him dated again to the early 1990.
A brand new e-fit used to be created in 2014 with the assistance of an informant.
He moved between the houses of loyalists who gave him protected harbour, opting for to stick cell versus being caught in a far flung a part of Sicily.
He used to be so arduous to seek out, he has been likened to Osama Bin Encumbered.
‘He has no direct touch together with his staff. Hello-tech apparatus is of restricted use: he may not use a mobile phone or pc greater than as soon as, satellites can’t see a pizzino and a drone would not be capable of apply any person down slim alleys, one investigator informed The Parent in 2014. ‘Bugging is difficult when suspects communicate at the seashore, in olive groves or in cemeteries, however by no means indoors.’
In 2015, police found out Messina Denaro used to be speaking together with his closest collaborators by way of the pizzini device, the place tiny, folded paper notes had been left below a rock at a farm in Sicily.
Police appeared particularly for hiding puts in grottoes, caverns and even bunkers inside of constructions the place the person nicknamed ‘Diabolik’ might be hid.
Police mentioned ultimate September that he used to be nonetheless in a position to factor instructions in the case of the best way the mafia used to be run within the space round Trapani, his regional stronghold.
He used to be in spite of everything arrested on Monday, January 16, when he visited the personal medical institution, the place he were present process chemotherapy for greater than a yr below a pretend identify of Andrea Bonafede, in step with Italian information company Ansa.
When he went for his appointment on Monday, the medical institution used to be surrounded via infantrymen, and he used to be in spite of everything detained. A witness mentioned that after he used to be approached via carabiniere and requested his identify, he spoke back: ‘Matteo Messina Denaro.’
The arrest of ‘a particularly bad fugitive’ used to be ‘an strange day for the state’, Internal Minister Matteo Piantedosi mentioned after the inside track broke.
The arrest comes nearly 30 years to the day since police arrested Salvatore ‘Toto’ Riina, the Sicilian Mafia’s maximum robust boss of the 20 th century.
He ultimately died in prison in 2017, having by no means damaged his code of silence.
‘It’s an strange match, of ancient importance,’ Gian Carlo Caselli, who used to be a prosecutor in Palermo on the time of Riina’s arrest.
Mavens say that Cosa Nostra has been supplanted via the ‘Ndrangheta, the Calabrian mafia, as probably the most robust organised crime staff in Italy.
‘There’s a sense that the Sicilian Mafia isn’t as robust because it was, particularly for the reason that 90s, they have got in reality been not able to go into the drug marketplace and so they’re in reality second-fiddle to the Ndrangheta on that,’ mentioned Federico Varese, Professor of Criminology at Oxford College.
Cosa Nostra’s bombing process of the early Nineteen Nineties – which prompted nationwide outrage and compelled politicians to behave – introducing waves of anti-mafia rules and making masses of arrests.
‘That ‘declaration of warfare’ towards the state definitely intended a weakening of the organisation that fostered different teams, such because the ‘Ndrangheta,’ mentioned Federico Cafiero De Raho, a former nationwide anti-mafia prosecutor and a lawmaker with the opposition 5-Superstar Motion.
Any revelation from Messina Denaro at the staff’s actions generally is a additional main construction.
‘In keeping with all wisdom, he had a task within the bombings and extra traits are conceivable,’ mentioned Gian Carlo Caselli, who served as leader prosecutor in Palermo on the time of Riina’s arrest.
‘Messina Denaro used to be the ultimate godfather, he represented all of the secrets and techniques of Cosa Nostra. It’s the finish of a delusion and the organisation must take care of this,’ mentioned Anna Sergi, a professional in organised crime at England’s Essex College.
Sergi mentioned it used to be no longer transparent who would step in to exchange Messina Denaro in what’s now a extra factionalised mafia.
‘If Cosa Nostra needs to rebuild the management it had previously it wishes directives, however there aren’t any large chiefs anymore,’ Sergi informed Reuters, including that she expects the gang to check out to rebuild connections with clans in america.