ROME ( Associated Press) – One of Italy’s most wanted fugitives and one of the world’s biggest drug traffickers, a convicted mobster, who was extradited from Brazil after 28 years arrived in Rome on Wednesday.
Rocco Morabito was second on the list of Most Wanted and Dangerous Robbers in Italy. Two decades ago he was convicted in the absence of drug trafficking as a member of ‘Ndrangheta’, a Calabrian organized crime group handling billions of euros (dollars) in cocaine smuggling.
Italian police describe him as one of the most important drug traffickers in the world. Morabito, 55, is to serve 30 years in prison after being convicted in absentia at a court in Milan in 2001.
Brazilian police arrested him in May 2021 in a joint operation with Italian and American investigators. Morabito was arrested in Uruguay in 2017, but escaped from prison there two years later.
The Italian police had been looking for him since 1994.
The Calabrian Prosecutor’s Office against Organized Crime reported that Morabito played a major role in the smuggling of cocaine between South America and Milan, an important distribution point for the drug for sale in Italy and the rest of Europe.
In addition to drug trafficking, Morabito has been convicted of a mafia association in Italy.
When he was caught in Uruguay in 2017, Morabito was living in a luxury villa at a coastal resort under a false name and with a fake Brazilian passport, officials said at the time. When he was detained at a hotel in Montevideo, police confiscated a 9mm pistol, 13 cell phones and cash as well as a Mercedes coupe.
At the top of Italy’s most wanted mafia leader is Matteo Messina Denaro, who is believed to still hold power in Sicily’s Cosa Nostra despite being absconding since 1993.