ROME -- After 28 years on the run, a convicted mobster, who was one the most wanted fugitives in Italy and reputedly was one of the most powerful drug broker worldwide, arrived in Rome Wednesday. Brazil extradited him.
Rocco Morabito occupied the No. Number 2 on the list of Italy’s most dangerous and wanted mobsters. Two decades ago, he was convicted in absentia for drug trafficking in the cadre of the 'ndrangheta organised crime syndicate. This syndicate is responsible for billions of dollars in cocaine sales.
According to Italian police, he is one of the top drug broker in the world. After being convicted in absentia in Milan in 2001, Morabito must serve a sentence of 30 years in prison.
In a joint operation between U.S. and Italian investigators, he was captured by Brazilian police on May 20, 2021. Morabito was previously detained in Uruguay in 2017 but escaped prison two years later.
Since 1994, the Italian police have been looking for him.
Prosecutors from Calabria say Morabito was a major player in the trafficking of cocaine between South America to Milan, which is a crucial distribution point for the drug that can be sold in Italy and elsewhere in Europe.
Morabito was convicted in Italy for drug trafficking and mafia association.
Authorities said that Morabito was living in luxury villas in Uruguay using an alias, and a fake Brazilian passport when he was arrested in 2017. Police also confiscated a 9mm pistol, 13 cell phones, cash and a Mercedes coupe during his arrest at a Montevideo hotel.
Still No. Matteo Messina Denaro is still Italy's most wanted mafia boss. Despite being a fugitive from 1993, he is considered to still hold the top position in Cosa Nostra in Sicily.
Investigations have revealed that the 'ndrangheta, which has surpassed the Sicilian Mafia in terms of power and scope in recent decades, has spread its wings throughout Europe, laundering cocaine revenues through infiltrating and buying up legitimate businesses such as restaurants and hotels.
Prosecutors were able to put many Cosa Nostra bosses behind bars by a small army of turncoats. Because the 'ndrangheta is based on strong family ties it has been less affected by betrayals of clan loyalty to criminals.