Cosa Nostra Mafia Boss Dies in Italy After 30 Years on the Run
In Italy, one of the leaders of the Sicilian criminal organization "Cosa Nostra," Matteo Messina Denaro, has passed away at the age of 62 in a hospital in L'Aquila.
It is reported by ANSA.
He had been battling colon cancer for the past three years, undergoing multiple surgeries and chemotherapy treatments. Denaro had been in a heavily guarded room at the "Aquila" hospital since August. On September 23, he fell into a coma, and his death was subsequently confirmed by doctors.
Matteo Messina Denaro, considered one of the last top leaders of "Cosa Nostra" who remained at large, was apprehended in January 2023. He was found in a private clinic in Palermo, Sicily, where he was receiving medical treatment.
Prior to his arrest at the private medical clinic in Palermo, the former boss of the Sicilian mafia had been on the run from justice for 30 years and was considered one of the most wanted individuals in Europe by Europol, according to prosecutor Maurizio de Lucia.
He had been sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for dozens of murders, including the killings of Italian investigators. Denaro became one of the leaders of "Cosa Nostra" after the 2006 arrest of the Sicilian mafia's leader, Bernardo Provenzano.
The notorious Cosa Nostra boss was implicated in a series of bombings in 1992, which resulted in the deaths of judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who were involved in prosecuting mafia cases. He was also linked to bombings in Milan, Florence, and Rome in 1993, which killed 10 people and injured 40.
In addition to the murders of Falcone and Borsellino, he was convicted of the murder of Giuseppe Di Matteo, a 12-year-old son of a mafia member who was set to testify against Denaro. The boy was strangled and dissolved in acid in 1996.
Known for his brutality and playboy charisma, Matteo Messina Denaro solidified his reputation for cruelty by eliminating his rival, the boss of Trapani, and strangling his girlfriend, who was three months pregnant, during his escape.
It is believed that the "middle-class mafia" across Sicily aided his evasion from the authorities for an extended period.
Law enforcement agencies dismantled Messina Denaro's support network through a series of operations between 2009 and 2010. They seized approximately €3 billion in assets belonging to his associates, relatives, and accomplices who were believed to have assisted him during his time in hiding. Among those arrested was his brother, Salvatore Messina Denaro, who refused to disclose Matteo's whereabouts.