Matteo Messina Denaro was arrested Monday in Palermo after 30 years on the run. The Italian police discovered on the night of Monday to Tuesday the small anonymous building in a town in Sicily where the most wanted mafia godfather in Italy was hiding. The cache of the 60-year-old man was in Campobello di Mazara, a small town of 10,000 inhabitants not far from his stronghold of Castelvetrano in the province of Trapani, where he was born and cut his teeth.
Law enforcement raided the small two-story apartment building painted yellow. The apartment where the godfather would have stayed for a long time has been sealed. Inside, the investigators found no weapon, but perfumes and luxury clothes. The small building is placed under the permanent surveillance of the police who prevent anyone from approaching. Contacted by AFP, the carabinieri refused to give details.
Treated for colon cancer
Matteo Messina Denaro was transported Monday evening aboard a military helicopter to Abruzzo, a region east of Rome overlooking the Adriatic Sea, where according to the media he must be imprisoned in a high security prison, probably in the town of L’Aquila. The journey of Matteo Messina Denaro, a cruel killer at the head of a major financial network, follows in the footsteps of the great historical leaders of Cosa Nostra, Toto Riina and Bernardo Provenzano, who died in prison in 2017 and 2016 respectively.
He was arrested Monday morning on the sidelines of a medical visit to the La Maddalena clinic in Palermo, a renowned establishment where he was treated, under an assumed name, for colon cancer. He was very well dressed and wore a luxury watch worth between 30 and 35,000 euros. During his run, he “benefited from significant protections and the investigation is focusing on these protections”, said Monday evening the head of the Palermo prosecutor’s office Maurizio De Lucia during a press conference.
Sentenced to life in absentia
The investigation will have to determine if “the last godfather of the Corleone clan” – clan made famous in the cinema by “The Godfather” – remained on the island during all his run or if he also stayed abroad. On the list drawn up by the Ministry of the Interior of the six most wanted criminals in Italy, Matteo Messina Denaro, born in April 1962, occupied the first place.
He had been sentenced in absentia in 2000 to life imprisonment for murder, and in 2020 for the attack on anti-Mafia judge Giovanni Falcone, assassinated on the orders of Cosa Nostra in 1992. Matteo Messina Denaro is one of the last great figures of Cosa Nostra, largely decimated by the ceaseless operations of the State after the assassination of the judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.