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Mafia fugitive among Italy's most-wanted arrested in Brazil

MILAN (AP) — Authorities in Brazil have arrested one of Italy’s most-wanted fugitives, a drug boss inside the Calabrian ‘ndrangheta organized crime network who escaped a prison in Uruguay two years ago, Italian officials said Tuesday.

Rocco Morabito, who has been wanted by Italy since 1994, was arrested in northern Brazil following a two-year investigation involving multiple agencies, the Italian Interior Ministry said in a statement. Another person suspected of drug trafficking, identified as Vincenzo Pasquino, was arrested along with him.

Morabito, 54, is considered the second-most dangerous fugitive on Italy’s most-wanted list. Matteo Messina Denaro, regarded as the boss of bosses within the Sicilian Mafia, has been sought since 1993.

Morabito was living in Uruguay before he was arrested in 2017. He escaped from prison two years later.

The operation coordinated by anti-mafia prosecutors in the northern Italy city of Turin and Reggio Calabria in the south also involved Interpol, Brazilian police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Italy’s paramilitary Carabinieri.

“Once again, the determination, dedication and professionalism of all the investigators involved helped bring to justice, after two years of complex and detailed investigation, the leading exponent of the ’ndrangheta,” Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese, Italy’s top security official, said in a statement.

The Associated Press