‘Cocaine king of Milan’ arrested in Uruguay after 23 years on the run

Rocco Morabito, of the Calabrian ’Ndrangheta, was one of Italy’s most-wanted mafia bosses

One of Italy’s most-wanted mob bosses has been arrested in Uruguay after 23 years on the run from convictions for mafia association, drug trafficking and other serious crimes, the Italian interior ministry has said.

Rocco Morabito was considered the most-wanted fugitive member of the Calabrian ’Ndrangheta, Italy’s most powerful organised crime group and one of Europe’s biggest importers of South American cocaine.

The 50-year-old was arrested in the coastal resort of Punta del Este after Uruguayan police and Italian authorities worked together to determine his real identity, the ministry said in a statement.

Dubbed the “cocaine king of Milan”, Morabito had been wanted since 1994 after he was found to have paid 13bn lire (£6.2m) to import almost a tonne of the drug, Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

An international arrest warrant was issued in 1995 with the aim of finding and extraditing him to Italy, where he had been sentenced to 30 years in jail in his absence.

Morabito was on the Italian interior ministry’s five-strong list of the country’s most-wanted organised criminals. It includes the Sicilian crime boss Matteo Messina Denaro.

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