Who is Matteo Messina, the ‘last godfather’ of the Italian mafia captured after being on the run for 30 years?

After 30 years in anonymity, Matteo Messina, the most wanted Italian mafia boss in the world, considered the leader of the Cosa Nostra group, was captured. Known as “Diabolik” and “the last godfather”, he was a fugitive from justice since the 1990s, and was tried in absentia for various crimes up to life in prison.

“Today, January 16, the carabinieri arrested the fugitive Matteo Messina Denaro inside a health facility in Palermo, where he had gone to receive therapeutic treatment”, reported Pasquale Angelosanto, General of the Police.

In the following note you will learn who Messina is, who was described as “extremely dangerous” and whose capture has been celebrated as “a great victory for the State” by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Matteo Messina, the ‘last godfather’ of the Italian mafia

Born on April 26, 1962 in Castelvetrano, in southwestern Sicily, he was part of the organization as a child because his father, Ciccio, was a local clan leader. Since he was little he was instructed to handle weapons, so at 14 he was already an expert and at 18 he committed his first murder.

Nicknamed Diabolik in reference to a famous Italian comic strip, he quickly became the undisputed leader of the bloody Sicilian Costa Nostra mafia, specializing in drug trafficking, with a presence in real estate, wind power and gambling.

“With the people I’ve killed, I could fill an entire cemetery,” Messina once boasted, referring to the murders he had committed, including with his own hands, according to the AFP agency.


Ruthless killer and lover of luxury

Messina He was the heir to the “capo of all capos”, the Toto Riiniknown as “The Beast”, after being captured in 1993. He signed an alliance with the famous Corleonesi clan, immortalized in the blockbuster film “The Godfather” directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

He drew attention for his passion for luxury cars, watches and gold ornaments, but he became even better known as a cold-blooded and ruthless leader. Despite his crimes, his problems with the law only began in 1989, when he was accused of conspiracy.

During the 1990s, he ordered the assassination of judges Falcone and Borsellino, as well as attacks in Rome, Milan and Florence, with a total of ten dead and a hundred injured. In July 1992, he participated in the murder of Mincenzo Milazzo, head of the Alcamo clan.

In 1993, he disappeared from the public eye and became the most powerful invisible leader of a criminal organization that moved millions of dollars, even his face was unknown to most Italians and Police and intelligence officials.

The capture of the capo Matteo Messina Denaro in Palermo. AFP photo

One of the most horrible crimes was when he murdered a minor and dissolved his body in acid, after his father was forced to recant testimony he had given about the murder of Judge Falcone.

In 2010, Forbes magazine included him in the list of the ten most dangerous fugitives in the world. It is even rumored that he underwent multiple cosmetic operations to make him unrecognizable.

After years of hiding, he was captured on January 16 in a hospital in Palermo (south) when he was going to be treated for cancer.