In a turn of events that sounds straight out of a crime thriller, Marco Raduano, a notorious Italian mafia boss who made a daring escape from a maximum security prison using bed sheets, has been captured in France. The 40-year-old leader of the Gargano mafia, operating in the southern Italian region of Puglia, was apprehended while enjoying a romantic dinner in Bastia, Corsica.
Raduano's capture came as a significant victory for law enforcement, particularly for the anti-mafia unit responsible for the arrest of Matteo Messina Denaro, another high-profile mafia figure who evaded capture for nearly 30 years. The operation marked a crucial step in the ongoing battle against organized crime in Italy and beyond.
According to a press release from the Carabinieri, Raduano was dining outside a luxury restaurant when he was caught. This dramatic arrest unfolded on Thursday, highlighting the relentless efforts of Italian authorities to track down fugitives, regardless of their hideouts.
Europol had listed Raduano among the top 10 most dangerous fugitives, underlining the threat he posed. His criminal activities had not only terrorized the local communities in Puglia but also challenged the law enforcement agencies tasked with dismantling organized crime networks.
In a simultaneous operation, Gianluigi Troiano, Raduano's right-hand man who had also escaped legal custody by removing his electronic bracelet in 2021, was detained in Granada, Spain. This coordinated effort involved the Regional Anti-Mafia Directorate of Bari, Puglia, the Carabinieri's ROS, and the provincial command of Foggia, Puglia, with support from the Spanish Civil Guard and the French National Gendarmerie.
Raduano's escape from prison less than a year ago was a scene of cinematic proportions. Surveillance footage from the maximum security facility captured him using bedclothes to make his descent from a prison window in a mere 16 seconds, fleeing on foot without detection. This escape prompted an internal investigation at the prison, where Raduano had been serving a 24-year sentence for drug trafficking.
Further complicating his criminal record, Raduano was sentenced to life in prison in absentia following his escape, for his role in instigating the killing of mobster Omar Trott in a bar in Vieste, Italy, in 2017.
This latest arrest not only underscores the international cooperation in the fight against organized crime but also serves as a reminder of the determination of law enforcement agencies to bring fugitives to justice, no matter where they hide or how they attempt to blend into society.