AP

Italy’s No. 2 most-wanted mobster is extradited from Brazil

Jul 5, 2022, 2:57 PM | Updated: Jul 6, 2022, 6:13 am

FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2017 file photo released by the Italian police, a man identified by police ...

FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2017 file photo released by the Italian police, a man identified by police as longtime fugitive Rocco Morabito, looks down after being arrested at a hotel in Montevideo, Uruguay. A convicted Italian mobster, one of Italy's most sought-after fugitives, has been extradited from Brazil. Italian police said that Rocco Morabito, who was No. 2 on the list of Italy's most wanted mobsters, arrived on Wednesday, July 6, 2022 in the morning on a flight from Brazil. (Italian Police via AP, File)

(Italian Police via AP, File)

ROME (AP) — A convicted mobster who was one of Italy’s most-wanted fugitives and reputedly one of the world’s most powerful drug brokers, arrived in Rome Wednesday, extradited by Brazil after 28 years on the lam.

Rocco Morabito held the No. 2 position 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 organized crime syndicate, which does billions of euros (dollars) in cocaine business.

Italian police describe him as one of the world’s top drug brokers. Morabito, 55, must serve a 30-year prison sentence after being convicted in absentia by a court in Milan in 2001.

He was arrested in May 2021 by Brazilian police in a joint operation with Italian and U.S. 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 cell phones and a stash of cash, as well as a Mercedes coupe.

Still No. 1 on Italy’s list of most-wanted mafia bosses is Matteo Messina Denaro, considered to still wield top power in Cosa Nostra in Sicily despite being a fugitive since 1993.

In recent decades, the ‘ndrangheta has eclipsed the Sicilian Mafia in power and scope, spreading its branches throughout much of Europe as it launders cocaine revenues by infiltrating or buying up legitimate businesses like restaurants and hotels, investigations have found.

A small army of turncoats helped prosecutors put many Cosa Nostra bosses behind bars for life. The ‘ndrangheta, built around strong family ties, has been less hurt by devastating betrayals of crime clan loyalties.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo: Basketball Hall of Fame legend Bill Walton laughs during a practice session for the NBA All-...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Bill Walton, Hall of Fame player who became a star broadcaster, dies at 71

Bill Walton, who became a Hall of Famer for his NBA career and one of the biggest stars in basketball broadcasting, died Monday.

4 hours ago

Photo: A shopper moves past a display of items in a Costco warehouse Saturday, May 18, 2024....

Associated Press

What’s open and closed on Memorial Day

Businesses increasingly have chosen to stay open on the holiday, leading to what is now one of the biggest retail sales weekends of the year.

7 hours ago

Image:A portrait of Officer Vancouver Police Department officer Donald Sahota is displayed as he is...

The Associated Press

Man convicted of murder in death of Vancouver police officer shot by deputy

A Yakima man was found guilty of murder for his role in the death of a Vancouver police officer who was shot by a sheriff's deputy in error.

2 days ago

Image:The headquarters of Live Nation is shown June 29, 2020, in Beverly Hills, California. The Jus...

Associated Press

Government sues Ticketmaster owner and asks court to break up company’s monopoly on live events

The DOJ has accused Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation Entertainment of running an illegal monopoly over live events in America.

4 days ago

Image: Ambulances are seen at the airport where a London-Singapore flight that encountered severe t...

Associated Press

World news roundup: Man dies after turbulence; Iran funerals; Israel media law

A Singapore Airlines flight hit severe turbulence over the Indian Ocean and descended 6,000 feet in a span of about three minutes.

6 days ago

Image: Bruce Nordstrom, left, and Jeannie Nordstrom attend the Nordstrom NYC Flagship Opening Party...

Associated Press

Bruce Nordstrom, who helped grow family-led department store chain, dies at 90

Bruce Nordstrom, a retail executive who helped expand his family's Pacific Northwest chain into an upscale national brand, has died.

7 days ago

Italy’s No. 2 most-wanted mobster is extradited from Brazil