For more than 16 years he was able to elude the authorities – now the escape is over. The Italian and French police used special forces to arrest mafioso Edgardo Greco in Saint-√Čtienne in south-eastern France.

The 63-year-old was sentenced to life imprisonment in Italy in 2006. He is complicit in the killing of two brothers in 1991. They were beaten to death in a fish shop, their bodies were never found. Greco was also involved in an attempted assassination of another man that same year. The crimes occurred at the time of a bloody “mafia war” between the gangs Pino Sena and Perna Pranno in the early 1990s, according to an Interpol statement. After being temporarily in police custody, Greco managed to escape and went into hiding. The mafioso belongs to the powerful Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta and is considered dangerous.

The investigators had long been on the heels of the wanted person. According to information from Thursday, they uncovered their support network as early as 2019. As reported by the “Guardian”, among others, the mafioso in France took on a new identity and worked in Italian restaurants under his new name before opening his own in June 2021. A local newspaper even gave him a report including a photo. The headline: “Paolo Dimitrio opens the restaurant of his dreams.”

It is not known exactly how the authorities tracked him down. Interpol Secretary General Juergen Stock said: “No matter how hard refugees try to slip into a peaceful life abroad, they cannot evade justice forever. Dedicated officials around the world will always ensure that justice is served .” The Italian government was also pleased with Greco’s arrest. They will continue to “fight all forms of organized crime and find dangerous refugees,” said Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi.

It is the third major blow against Italian mafia gangs in a short time. In January, Cosa Nostra boss Matteo Messina Denaro, who had been on the run for decades, was arrested in Palermo. At the end of the month, Italian authorities reported that a branch of the ‘Ndrangheta had been dismantled. Several mafiosi were arrested and more than 250 million euros were confiscated.

Sources: Interpol, Carabinieri Cosenza, “The Guardian”, news agencies DPA and AFP.