Matteo was at the top of Italy’s most wanted list until his arrest on January 16, after 30 years on the run.
The Italian police arrested Rosalia Messina Denaro, the sister of Matteo Messina Denaro, the mafia leader who was recently arrested after escaping for 30 years.
The Carabinieri police revealed that the arrest of Mateo’s sister came on charges of collaborating with a mafia group, which was discovered “as a result of investigations into this file.”
Investigators have long suspected that Mateo Messina Denaro’s long escape from justice was aided by his family members and the strong loyalty of his aides.
Story of escaping from the police
Matteo was at the top of Italy’s wanted lists until his arrest on January 16, after 30 years on the run. Several life sentences were issued against him after he was convicted of a long list of murder cases and other crimes
Matteo hid in the small town of Campobello di Mazara, which has a population of less than ten thousand people, about ten kilometers from “Castelvetrano”, the stronghold of the mafia boss, in the province of Trapani, where he was born, raised and practiced his first criminal activities.
Denaro misled his neighbors that his name was Andrea Bonavide, and he had an identity card with that name, and he claimed to be a doctor.
Denaro was arrested, during a medical visit to the famous La Maddalena Hospital in Palermo, where he was receiving treatment for colon cancer, using a false name.
Matteo Messina Denaro, born in April 1962 near Trapani in Sicily, is ranked first on the list of the Ministry of Interior’s six most wanted persons in hiding in Italy.
He was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment in 2000 for murder. However, the only known photograph of him dates back to the early 1990s.
Denaro is considered the successor to the two main historical leaders of the Sicilian mafia, Cosa Nostra, Toto Reina and Bernardo Provenzano, who died in prison in 2016 and 2017.
The “Cosa Nostra” mafia lost many of its members due to the ongoing operations conducted by the Italian authorities after the assassination of judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992.
The Italian newspaper “Il Mesadeguero” indicated that Denaro’s wealth amounts to “four billion euros”, which he collected from drug trafficking, extortion and money laundering. For several years, hundreds of police and gendarmes have been involved in the hunt for the most notorious Italian fugitive.