After 30 years on the lam, Matteo Messina Denaro, the most sought Mafia leader in Italy, was apprehended today in a private hospital.
Messina Denaro, 60, was apprehended by Italian police at a clinic in Palermo, Sicily, where he was seeking treatment for an unidentified medical issue. Messina Denaro had a 12-year-old kid strangled and his corpse dissolved in acid.
The Mafia leader, who has not been seen in public for thirty years, was seen on camera immediately after his arrest sitting in a police vehicle sporting his recognizable tinted spectacles, a white skull hat, and a brown leather jacket.
While still being a fugitive, Messina Denaro was regarded Messina Denaro, Messina Denaro’s top Cosa Nostra leader in Sicily, Messina Denaro was considered Cosa Nostra’s top boss in Sicily even while being a fugi
Messina Denaro, a former hit man who reportedly claimed that he could “fill a cemetery” with his victims, is said to have ascended to the position of “boss of bosses” after Salvatore “The Beast” Riina’s death in November 2022.
He was the third top-level Mafia member who had been on the run for a long time, and when word of his capture went around Palermo, locals came out to shake the hands of the Italian paramilitary police men who were engaged in the operation.
When Messina Denaro, who had orchestrated years of terror, was finally apprehended, the locals were observed clapping and wiping away tears in a surge of relief.
The arrest was praised as “a significant triumph for the state that proves it never gives up in the face of the mafia” by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
Multiple life sentences are expected for Messina Denaro, who was found guilty of many murders after being prosecuted in absentia.
For his part in the 1992 killings of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, he was given a life sentence in absentia.
Messimo Denaro, who is from the tiny town of Castelvetrano near Trapani, is also up for life in prison for his part in the bombings that occurred in Florence, Rome, and Milan the following year and left 10 people dead.
Giuseppe Di Matteo, 12, was abducted in 1993 as part of a plot by Messina Denaro, according to the prosecution, in an effort to stop his father from testifying against the mafia.
The youngster was imprisoned for two years before being killed by being strangled and having his corpse dissolved in acid.
The sole known image of Messina Denaro, who had been at the top of Italy’s most-wanted list, was from the early 1990s; nevertheless, a fresh e-fit was produced in 2014 with the assistance of a different informant.
Messina Denaro, who had a stronghold in western Sicily, was regarded as the Cosa Nostra’s senior leader in Sicily even though he was on the run.
Despite having been missing for a long time, according to police reports from September 2022, Messina Denaro was still in a position to provide orders on how the mafia was managed in the territory surrounding his regional stronghold of Trapani in western Sicily.
Police learned in 2015 that he was using the pizzini technique, which included leaving small, folded paper messages beneath a rock at a Sicilian farm, to communicate with his closest associates.
A five-year-old girl was also used by Messimo Denaro to transmit covert handwritten notes between him and other mafia bosses. He ran the program using Attilio Fogazza, a mafia informantlittle ,’s daughter.
The texts were sent by Denaro’s second-in-command, Domenico “Mimmo” Scimonelli, according to Fogazza, who is now facing a murder accusation. Fogazza claimed this in 2016.
The notes were hidden inside the kid’s jacket and bag before the right-hand guy took his daughter out for ice cream.
While Fogazza works with the prosecutors to bring down the “boss of bosses” in the Italian mafia world, his daughter and the rest of his family have been residing in a hidden location with police protection.
After being detained in December of last year for the 2009 murder of Salvatore Lombardo, who was slain after stealing a vehicle from Scimonelli, Fogazza, who managed a car dealership in south-western Sicily, opted to work with Palermo detectives.
According to Italian media sources, Fogazza told Palermo prosecutors, “One day my daughter reported ‘Uncle Mimmo’ had taken her for a gelato and placed the notes inside her jacket and her bag.”
Messimo Denaro was apprehended on Monday, 30 years and one day after Salvatore “Toto” Riina, the convicted “boss of bosses,” was apprehended in a Palermo flat after 23 years on the lam.
Following the killings of Falcone and Borsellino, the Italian government launched a crackdown on the Sicilian criminal syndicate, and Messina Denaro fled the country in the summer of the same year.
Bernardo Provenzano, the Mafia leader in Italy who established the record for the longest period on the run, was apprehended at a farmhouse close to Corleone, Sicily, in 2006 after 38 years on the run.
Once Provenzano was in the custody of the police, the manhunt for Messina Denaro was intensified. However, despite multiple reports of the mob leader being seen, he managed to avoid capture until Monday.
It won’t come as a surprise to the police and prosecutors in Italy that all three senior executives were finally apprehended in the middle of Sicily while leading decades-long covert lives.
In order to move the fugitives from hiding place to hiding place, supply basic needs, like food and clean clothing and communication, and supply the fugitives with a code of silence known as “omerta,” law enforcement has long claimed that such bosses rely on contacts and confidentiality of fellow mobsters and complicit family members.