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Europe

Italian police arrest fugitive Sicilian mafia boss

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-16

Italian police arrested top Sicilian mafia boss Domenico Raccuglia, considered the second most prominent figure in Cosa Nostra. He was wanted for multiple charges of kidnapping and murder, and had been on the run for 15 years.

AFP- Italian police on Sunday captured the number two leader of Sicily's Cosa Nostra Mafia, Domenico Raccuglia, after 15 years on the run, officials said.
   
Raccuglia, 45, who has been sentenced separately to three life jail terms including for his role in the kidnapping and murder of a teenage boy, was arrested in Sicily's Trapani region, police told ANSA news agency.
   
"Mimmo" Raccuglia, who was nicknamed "the veterinarian" for his love of animals, was considered one of Italy's 30 most dangerous fugitives, ANSA reported.
   
At the time of his arrest, he tried to escape from a balcony in the apartment where he was hiding in a suburb of Calatafimi. Police had surrounded the building and caught him.
   
Interior Minister Roberto Maroni hailed the arrest as "one of the biggest blows against Mafia organisations in recent years, because Raccuglia was in fact the Cosa Nostra's number two."
   
Raccuglia was considered a potential contender to become the new boss of the Mafia in Palermo.
   
He has been convicted of five murders and was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the killing of the teenage son of a Mafia turncoat, in a case that shocked Italy at the time.
   
The 14-year-old boy was kidnapped in 1993. He was kept hostage for more than two years before being killed. His body was then dumped in acid.
   
Umberto Di Maggio, the Sicily region president of the anti-Mafia organisation Libera, said Raccuglia's arrest marked a "great day" for the battle against organised crime.
   
"He was one of the big legendary bosses," Di Maggio said. "People thought he was impossible to arrest."
   
Di Maggio noted that authorities had arrested several Mafia members recently.
   
"This forces the Cosa Nostra to constantly re-organise," he said.
   
Maroni said earlier this month that authorities had arrested more than 3,600 Mafia members in the last 18 months, including 15 on the list of the 30 most dangerous fugitives.

Date created : 2009-11-15

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