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HomeWorldHow Italy's most wanted 'Godfather' Denaro was captured after 30 years on...

How Italy’s most wanted ‘Godfather’ Denaro was captured after 30 years on the run

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Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro’s 30-year bid to evade justice came to a dramatic end today after the Italian ‘Godfather’ was finally arrested – but not without one last attempt to outrun the law.

Messina Denaro, head of the notorious Cosa Nostra gang and nicknamed ‘The Devil’ following a string of brutal murders, was captured when armed police swarmed a private medical facility in Palermo, Sicily, where he was undergoing treatment.

The 60-year-old had tried to outrun the police officers on foot and pushed his way through a series of hospital doors – but he only made it as far as a bar that was part of the same building where he had been seeing doctors for colon cancer checks.

As the officers cornered the now frail mafia boss, Messina Denaro meekly gave them his name before they bundled him into a waiting black minivan in front of shocked patients and medical staff.

The Mafia boss, who has not been seen in public for three decades, was pictured sitting in a police van wearing a brown leather shearling jacket, a white skull cap and his trademark tinted glasses shortly after his arrest.

Messina Denaro, who had a 12-year-old boy strangled and his body dissolved in acid, was taken to a secret location by police immediately after he was detained.

A trigger man who once reportedly boasted he could ‘fill a cemetery’ with his victims, Messina Denaro was a leading figure in Cosa Nostra, the real-life Sicilian crime syndicate depicted in the Godfather movies.

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For a mafia boss who evaded arrest for over 30 years, it was his frequent visits to a private clinic that led to his arrest.

Messina Denaro had been sitting in the private clinic waiting to see a doctor for colon cancer tests when he was surrounded and chased by a swarm of armed police officers

A member of staff who asked to remain anonymous told local media: ‘He’d been coming here on and off for about a year. 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 6am it was all quiet and then he arrived to do his Covid test.

‘A few minutes later a police officer wearing full body armour 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. 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.’

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