Italian mafia boss arrested in Madrid two years after mistakenly released from prison

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Mafia ‘boss of bosses’ arrested in Madrid with £ 5,000 in cash and six cell phones, two years after being released from prison by mistake

  • Domenico Paviglianiti, 60, was a leader of ‘Ndrangheta, Italy’s most powerful organized crime syndicate
  • He was arrested in Madrid during a joint operation by the Spanish and Italian police
  • Paviglianiti had fake Portuguese documents, £ 5,000 and six phones on him

A mafia “boss of bosses” was arrested by Spanish police Thursday morning in the streets of Madrid, two years after being released by mistake from prison.

Domenico Paviglianiti was one of the leaders of Italy’s most powerful organized crime syndicate, the ‘Ndrangheta, which controls much of the cocaine trade in Europe.

Now one of Italy’s most wanted fugitives, the 60-year-old was arrested on the streets of Madrid’s working-class neighborhood Cuatro Caminos in a joint operation with Italian police, police said Spanish national in a statement.

Paviglianiti was arrested on the streets of Madrid’s working-class neighborhood Cuatro Caminos in a joint operation with Italian police, Spain’s national police said in a statement. Above, the arrest of Paviglianiti

Domenico Paviglianiti was a leader of Italy's most powerful organized crime syndicate, Ndrangheta, which controls much of the cocaine trade in Europe.

Domenico Paviglianiti was one of the leaders of Italy’s most powerful organized crime syndicate, the ‘Ndrangheta, which controls much of the cocaine trade in Europe.

He was carrying false Portuguese documents at the time of his arrest as well as £ 5,000 in cash and six cell phones, police added.

Paviglianiti helped control mafia operations in northern Italy and South America at its peak.

He was dubbed “the boss of bosses” by the Italian media for his role in crimes committed in the 1980s and 1990s, including murder and drug trafficking.

Paviglianiti was initially arrested in Spain in 1996 and extradited three years later to Italy, where he began serving a life sentence, a sentence typically imposed on main mafia criminals.

But his lawyers argued that Spain’s extradition conditions failed to recognize life imprisonment, a technicality that allowed his early release after serving more than 20 years.

After his release, Paviglianiti “drove around in an armored vehicle for fear of being hit by a gang attack and his criminal activities were said to have focused on arms and drug trafficking,” according to a statement from the Spanish ministry of the Interior.

Italian prosecutors then issued an arrest warrant for him following a decision of a high court which concluded that he had been released in error in 2019.

Spanish police located part of Paviglianiti’s family in Barcelona, ​​where he lived for several months before moving to Madrid.

Police regularly arrest members of the Italian Mafia in Spain, the main gateway to Europe for cocaine from Latin America and cannabis from North Africa.

“Ndrangheta is based in the southern region of Calabria, the tip of the Italian boot.  Above, a young Paviglianiti

“Ndrangheta is based in the southern region of Calabria, the tip of the Italian boot. Above, a young Paviglianiti

The ‘Ndrangheta is based in the southern region of Calabria, the tip of the Italian boot. In January 2021, the biggest ever Mafia trial took place in Calabria.

The organization is considered to be Italy’s most powerful crime syndicate, having overtaken Sicily’s Cosa Nostra and Naples-based Camorra, thanks to the wealth it has amassed as the leading importer and wholesaler of cocaine produced. in Latin America and smuggled into Europe via North Africa. and southern Italy.

The name ‘Ndrangheta comes from the Greek for courage or loyalty and the tight clan structure of the organization made its penetration difficult.


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