Italian drug lord extradited from Brazil after 28 years on the run

Rocco Morabito was second on list of Italy’s most wanted and dangerous mobsters

A convicted mobster who was one of Italy’s most-wanted fugitives has arrived in Rome after being extradited by Brazil following 28 years on the run.

Rocco Morabito was second on the list of Italy’s most wanted and dangerous mobsters.

He was convicted two decades ago in absentia of drug trafficking as part of the ‘Ndrangheta organised crime syndicate.

Italian police describe him as one of the world’s top drug dealers.

Morabito (55) must serve a 30-year prison sentence after being convicted in absentia by a court in Milan in 2001.

“He was a major architect in the internationalisation of the (crime) gangs and became the king of cocaine brokers,” Nicola Morra, head of parliament’s anti-mafia commission, wrote on Facebook.

He was arrested in May 2021 by Brazilian police in a joint operation with Italian and US investigators.

Morabito had earlier been arrested in Uruguay in 2017 but escaped from prison there two years later.

Italian police have been searching for him since 1994.

Calabria-based anti-Mafia prosecutors say Morabito played a big role in cocaine trafficking between South America and Milan, a key distribution point for the drug to be sold elsewhere in Italy and across Europe.

In addition to drug trafficking, Morabito has been convicted in Italy of Mafia association.

When he was captured in 2017 in Uruguay, Morabito was living in a luxury villa in a seaside resort using an alias and a false Brazilian passport, authorities said at the time.

During his arrest in a Montevideo hotel, police also seized a 9mm gun, 13 mobile phones and a stash of cash, as well as a Mercedes coupe.

Still top of Italy’s list of most-wanted mafia bosses is Matteo Messina Denaro, considered to still wield top power in the Cosa Nostra in Sicily despite being a fugitive since 1993. — AP