Police on Thursday made an arrest in the case of Edgardo Greco, who they believe has connections to Italy’s infamous ‘ndrangheta mafia gang. On Thursday, a mafia hitman who had been on the run for the previous 16 years and who had been working as a pizza cook in France was taken into custody there, NBC reports.
Edgardo Greco, 63, was taken into custody by French authorities in the city of Saint-Étienne in the southeast of France. According to the authorities, Edgardo Greco has connections to Italy’s infamous ‘ndranghetha crime group, and he was previously convicted of murdering two people in the early 1990s.
Greco, who has been labeled a dangerous fugitive, was found guilty of the murders of brothers Stefano and Giuseppe Bartolomeo in 1991 and was given a life sentence for his crimes. In a statement, the Italian police said that the two people had been killed with a metal bar inside of a fish store in the region of Calabria. According to the police, “Their bodies were made to disappear and never found again.”
In a separate instance, Greco is also charged with attempted murder, NBC adds.
According to the Italian news agency ANSA, Greco had been working as a pizza cook at a French restaurant that served Italian cuisine while using a false name. It looks like Greco is standing in the kitchen of a restaurant in the photo that was published by the Italian police. Greco is wearing a white chef coat.
Greco’s actions were connected to the “mafia wars” between the Pino Sena and the Perna Pranno organized crime groups in the Cosenza area of southern Italy, according to Interpol, the international police organization that coordinated the investigation with French and Italian law enforcement.
During the so-called Maxi Trial, which ran from 1986 to 1992 and included the prosecution and conviction of hundreds of mafia operators, he was found accountable for the two murders. An arrest warrant for him was issued in 2006, and police stated he “evaded the execution” of the warrant.
After evading capture in October 2006, the public prosecutor’s office in Catanzaro, southern Italy, obtained a European Arrest Warrant for Greco.
This arrest on Thursday follows the capture of Italian mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro two weeks ago; Denaro, like ‘ndrangetha’s leader, has been on the run for decades.
“No matter how hard fugitives try to slip into a quiet life abroad, they cannot evade justice forever. Dedicated officers around the world will always ensure that justice is served,” Matteo Piantedosi, Italy’s interior minister, said in a statement.
“The capture of Edgardo Greco brings to justice one of the worst Italian criminals and demonstrates, for the umpteenth time, the capabilities and commitment of our police forces, which on this occasion have operated in collaboration with the French authorities,” he said.
The operation was carried out as part of Interpol’s I-CAN project, which is an Italian-funded program that will begin in 2020 to target the infamous crime group. According to Interpol, it has assisted in the capture of scores of wanted criminals throughout the globe.
Authorities in Italy have long seen the ‘ndrangetha as a serious security threat. It has worldwide connections and is deeply involved in the cocaine trafficking between South America and Europe, earning it the reputation as Italy’s most threatening and powerful criminal organization.
In 2021, another major trial involving 350 suspected n’drangetha members was held in the Italian region of Calabria.
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