ROME (Reuters) – Police said they were carrying out searches on Tuesday linked to 25 suspected accomplices of Matteo Messina Denaro, a Sicilian mafia boss who has been on the run for more than two decades.
The Carabinieri force said it had also detained another important member of the island’s mafia group, who is under investigation for alleged organised crime association and fraudulent transfer of valuables. It did not give a name.
The searches started in the early hours of Tuesday and were focussed on the Sicilian towns of Mazara del Vallo and Castelvetrano, police said. They were part of an investigation to catch the fugitive, the Carabinieri added.
Messina Denaro – nicknamed “Diabolik” – has been on the run since 1993 and comes from the province of Trapani, a port town to the west of Sicily’s capital, Palermo.
He was seen as the heir of the Sicilian mafia’s most powerful boss, Salvatore “Toto” Riina, who died in prison in November last year. But prosecutors last week said Messina Denaro was not the boss of bosses as he did not control all of Palermo’s powerful clans.
(Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Andrew Heavens)