Italian police are swiftly cracking down on the criminal network that has allowed the ‘last godfather’ Matteo Messina Denaro to live and prosper in broad daylight in his native Sicily for the past 30 years, despite being on the list of the most wanted from Italy.
On Monday, authorities arrested a suspect accused of “lending” his identity to the mob boss, a 59-year-old Sicily-based surveyor named Andrea Bonafede.
Thanks to fake documents, Messino Denaro was able to do things like buy a car in person, go to the supermarket and get treatment at a private medical facility, where he even took a selfie with a surgeon.
Messino Denaro is currently being held in a high security prison in L’Aquila, central Italy.
He has cancer and is “seriously ill”, according to the doctor who treated him before the arrest.
The police have already found and searched three hiding places in Sicily, two in Campobello di Mazara and one in Trapani, where he would have led a “normal life” until his arrest on January 16 in Palermo.
In his hiding places, the police found jewelry, expensive restaurant receipts, pills to improve male sexual performance, as well as memorabilia from the “Godfather” of Francis Ford Coppola.
Messina Denaro is due in court on March 9.
He is appealing his life sentence for the 1992 murder of two prominent Italian mob prosecutors, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, and their bodyguards.
He was, however, also accused of ordering or carrying out a number of killings – at least 20, according to the Italian press.
There are still four other high profile gangsters wanted by the Italian police currently at large. People linked not only to the Sicilian Mafia, but also to the Sardinian, Calabrian and Neapolitan “clans”.