A fugitive Italian 'ndrangheta mafia boss charged with international drug trafficking has been arrested in Brazil. The 'ndrangheta is Italy's most powerful mafia and one of the world's top cocaine traffickers.
Vincenzo Macri was arrested at Brazil's Sao Paulo airport while using fake identity documents, authorities said Saturday, ending a two year search for one of Italy's most notorious crime bosses.
"Vincenzo Macri's arrest is another very important operation against the 'ndrangheta, adding to the arrest of other dangerous fugitives carried out recently," Interior Minister Marco Minniti said in a statement.
Macri, 52, is a top boss of the Commisso, a crime clan of the 'ndrangheta based in Siderno, Calabria. The 'ndrangheta is Italy's most powerful mafia organization, having overtaken Sicily's Cosa Nostra and is considered one of the leading traffickers of cocaine into Europe.
Italian media reported Macri intended to fly to Caracas, Venezuela, where he was believed to be living under a false identity.
Italian authorities have been trying to arrest Macri since 2015, when they accused him of international drug trafficking and mafia membership. He is expected to be extradited from Brazil to Italy.
String of blows to the 'ndrangheta
Macri previously served time behind bars in a US prison between 1989-2002 for drug trafficking. He later moved to the Netherlands where he supposedly ran a florist business.
Macri comes from an established crime family. His father, Antonio Macri, was a top mafia boss before being shot dead in 1975 in an 'ndrangheta clan feud.
The arrest comes nearly a week after police captured top 'ndrangheta crime boss Giuseppe Giorgi in a bunker inside his home in San Luca, Calabria. He had been on the run for 26 years.
In late May, police in Italy and Germany arrested 22 people running a cocaine trafficking racket linked to the 'ndrangheta.
cw/jm (AP, AFP, dpa)