A Mafia boss considered the most wanted man in Italy —who has been accused of involvement in the strangling of a 12-year-old boy and the dissolving of his body in a vat of acid among other crimes — was finally arrested.
Matteo Messina Denaro, nicknamed “The Devil,” was arrested at a hospital where he was undergoing a colon cancer check and taken to a secret location. Messina Denaro has been accused of dozens of murders, including the strangulation of a pregnant woman.
“A great victory for the state that shows it never gives up in the face of the mafia,” Conservative Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni stated.
“It is a victory for all the police forces that have worked together over these long years to bring the dangerous fugitive to justice,” Italy’s Chief of Police, Lamberto Giannini, echoed.
“He’d been coming here on and off for about a year,” said a hospital staffer who preferred to remain anonymous. The Daily Mail reported. “He’d had an operation a few months ago and was back for more tests and chemotherapy. When I turned up for work this morning at 6 a.m. it was all quiet and then he arrived to do his Covid test. A few minutes later a police officer wearing full body armor as if he was going to war came in and said he was looking for a patient.”
“He said to remain calm and that armed officers were on every floor of the clinic,” the staffer continued. “We had no idea who he was or what his background was. The guy actually managed to get out and ran into a local bar but they tracked him down and that’s when all hell broke loose.”
Messina Denaro was sentenced in absentia in 1992 to a life term for complicity in the murders of anti-Mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino; he has also been accused of complicity in bomb attacks in Florence, Rome and Milan which killed ten people in 1993, the same year he reputedly helped supervise the kidnapping of Giuseppe Di Matteo in order to keep his father from testifying against the Mafia. The boy was held for two years, then reportedly strangled and his body dissolved in a vat of acid.
Messina Denaro had collaborators in Sicily who aided him to evade arrest over the years, The New York Times noted.