Game over for “Godfather” Matteo Messina Denaro

Published on 18 January 2023 at 11:08

On 16 January, Italian carabinieri arrested Matteo Messina Denaro, considered one of the main leaders of the Sicilian mafia, Cosa Nostra. Messina Denaro, 60, had been sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for murder and had been on the run since 1993.

The thirty-year manhunt for one of the six most wanted criminals in Italy finally ended in La Maddalena hospital in Palermo, where Messina Denaro had resided for some time due to medical reasons, and where he was finally apprehended. "The last leader of the murderous generation of Cosa Nostra could no longer hide," said Roberto Saviano, the Italian writer and journalist under police protection publishing revelations on organized crime in southern Italy. "Of course he was in his homeland: like all the leaders, he was exactly where everyone knew he was".

In an effort to isolate Messina Denaro, Italian police targeted his entourage for more than 20 years, making arrests and seizing property. The consequences for Cosa Nostra are not so clear. According to former prosecutor Gian Carlo Caselli, the mafia has a proven history of renewing itself despite arrests of its leaders.

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