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Italy hails seize of prime mafia boss in Brazil



  • Rocco Morabito was arrested on Monday in northeast Brazil.
  • Morabito is quantity two on the Italian inside ministry’s most harmful fugitives record.
  • He escaped virtually two years in the past from a jail in Uruguay.

Italian prosecutors and police on Tuesday cheered the seize in Brazil of a number one mafia boss who has skirted justice in Italy for almost 30 years.

Rocco Morabito, quantity two on the Italian inside ministry’s most harmful fugitives record, was arrested Monday in northeast Brazil.

His seize got here virtually two years after his audacious escape from a jail in Uruguay, the place he was awaiting extradition to Italy.

Morabito – thought-about a “capo” or captain of the ‘Ndrangheta organised crime group – was discovered within the metropolis of Joao Pessoa together with one other Italian fugitive, following a world operation involving Italy, Uruguay and america.

Morabito awaits a 30-year jail sentence in Italy. He and the opposite ‘Ndrangheta fugitive arrested, Vincenzo Pasquino, had been being transported Tuesday from San Paolo to Brasilia, Italian authorities mentioned.

Morabito is “one of the vital brokers in narco-trafficking”, mentioned Giovanni Bombardieri, chief prosecutor within the southern Italian metropolis of Reggio Calabria, throughout a web-based press convention.

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Dubbed “the king of cocaine” by the press, Morabito has been needed since 1994 by Italian authorities who for many years have been attempting to slowly chip away on the ‘Ndrangheta, the nation’s strongest mob syndicate whose tentacles attain far past its historic base of the Calabria area.

Investigations begun instantly after his jail escape in 2019 indicated that Morabito was in Brazil, mentioned Pasquale Angelosanto, commander of Italy’s carabinieri particular operations unit, which offers with organised crime.

– Having fun with the seaside –

Morabito seemed to be hiding in plain sight, mentioned Massimiliano D’Angelantonio of the particular operations unit.

“He led a reasonably regular life, going to the seaside, frequenting native locations. He did not appear to be residing like a fugitive however had a social, regular life,” D’Angelantonio mentioned.

Amongst different crimes, Morabito is accused of guaranteeing the transport of medicine into Italy and their sale in Milan, in addition to making an attempt to import 592 kilograms of cocaine from Brazil in 1992 and 630 kilograms a 12 months later.

Earlier than his arrest in a Montevideo lodge in September 2017, Morabito had lived for 13 years below a faux identification within the Uruguayan resort city of Punta del Este.

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In 2015, an Italian court docket sentenced him in his absence to twenty-eight years’ imprisonment, later elevated to 30 years.

– On the run –

The daring jail break-out by Morabito and three different inmates in 2019, who escaped by a gap within the roof, set off an enormous manhunt in Uruguay and spurred the resignation of the nation’s jail chief.

Initially from the Calabrian city of Africo, Morabito arrived in Italy’s enterprise capital of Milan at age 23, rapidly carving out a status for himself.

Nicknamed “U Tamunga” in reference to a German navy automobile, the DKW Munga, the younger Morabito turned a charismatic determine in Milan who quickly attracted the eye of anti-mafia investigators.

In October 1994, police moved in throughout certainly one of his common drop-offs of suitcases stuffed with tens of millions of lira to Colombian drug traffickers in Milan. He managed to flee.



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