Italy arrests mafia boss Messina Denaro at Sicilian hospital
January 17, 2023 / 8:39 AM
Sharjah24 - Reuters: Italy's most wanted mafia boss, Matteo Messina Denaro, was arrested by armed police at a private hospital in Sicily on Monday, where the man who has been on the run since 1993 was being treated for cancer.
Nicknamed "Diabolik" and "'U Siccu" (The Skinny One), Messina Denaro had been sentenced in absentia to a life term for his role in the 1992 murders of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, crimes that shocked the nation and sparked a crackdown on Cosa Nostra.
Messina Denaro, 60, was led away from Palermo's "La Maddalena" hospital by two uniformed carabinieri police and bundled into a waiting black minivan. He was wearing a brown fur-lined jacket, glasses and a brown and white woolly hat.
Judicial sources said he was being treated for cancer and had an operation last year, followed by a series of appointments under a false name.
"We had a clue to the investigation and followed it through to today's arrest," Palermo prosecutor Maurizio de Lucia said.
Magistrate Paolo Guido, who was also in charge of investigations into Messina Denaro, said dismantling his network of protectors was key in reaching the result following years of work.
A second man who had driven Messina Denaro to the hospital was arrested at the scene on suspicion of aiding a fugitive.
Images on social media showed locals applauding and shaking hands with police in balaclavas as the minivan carrying Messina Denaro was driven away from the suburban hospital to a secret location.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni travelled to Sicily to congratulate police chiefs after the arrest.