Matteo Messina Denaro, one of the world’s most-wanted criminals commonly known as “the last godfather” of the Sicilian mafia, has been apprehended in after 30 years at large.
60-year-old Denaro, who has been in hiding since 1993, was captured in a private medical facility in the Sicilian capital Palermo where, according to sources, he had been receiving treatment under the alias “Andrea Bonafede”.
He was transferred to the San Lorenzo barracks in Palermo at approximately 9:35 a.m., to the cheers of other patients at the facility. Denaro reportedly attempted to flee the clinic when he spotted police approaching, but he did not put up any opposition once he was encircled.
After the deaths of Bernardo Provenzano in 2016 and Salvatore Riina in 2017, the thug was once considered a frontrunner to become the Sicilian mafia’s boss of bosses.
Denaro, also known as Diabolik or U Siccu (the skinny one), was born in Castelvetrano, Sicily in 1962. His father was a powerful Cosa Nostra figure, and Denaro prospered in the family business, amassing a multibillion-euro criminal empire in the garbage, wind energy, and retail industries.
Prosecutors claim he is responsible for some of the most terrible crimes committed by the Sicilian mafia, including the bombings that killed the famed anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. In 2002, he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for murdering or ordering the murder of scores of others.
According to mafia insiders, despite his extensive protection network, Denaro had become increasingly isolated in recent years. Year after year, detectives from the Italian police seized his businesses and imprisoned over a hundred of his associates, including his cousins, nephews, and sister. Slowly, Italian prosecutors torched the land surrounding Denaro, severing all of his connections with his family and those who sheltered him while he was in hiding.