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On-the-run Mafia man is captured

One of Italy's most wanted fugitive mobsters has been captured by police.

Michele Zagaria, on the run since 1995, was found in an underground bunker in Casapesenna, in his home town province of Caserta in southern Italy, headquarters of the Casalesi clan of the Neapolitan Camorra.

Anti-mafia prosecutor Piero Grasso said it was likely Zagaria had spent his years as a fugitive nearby since mob bosses "can only exercise their power if they're in an environment that protects them".

He said: "This was the nightmare: we knew he was there, but it was tough to find him, tough to get him out. Finally we did."

He noted that the Casalesis' well-known infiltration of local businesses and politics was similar to that of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra.

Investigators contend the Casalesi family runs a lucrative illegal business in transporting and disposing of toxic waste, a murky world explored in the book and film Gomorrah.

Other moneymakers for the crime clan are rackets, extortion, drug trafficking, smuggling of illegal migrants and arms. Police have seized about £2 billion-worth of assets allegedly illegally gained by its members over the last few years.

Last year, another top Casalesi lieutenant Antonio Iovine, nicknamed "'o ninno'" (dialect for "the baby") for his youthful looks, was arrested in a major strike against the family.

His arrest left Zagaria as the last big fugitive lieutenant of the charismatic convicted Camorra boss Francesco Schiavone. Nicknamed Sandokan after the hero of a series of pirate adventure books in Italy, Schiavone is believed to control the Casalesi clan from behind bars.

Zagaria is wanted for murder, extortion, kidnapping, mafia association and other crimes.


From Belfast Telegraph