The second most wanted man in Italy, the Mafioso Rocco Morabito, was arrested Monday evening (24) in João Pessoa (PB), by the federal police. He had been on the run since 2019, when he escaped from a prison in Uruguay.
In Italy, Morabito was sentenced to 30 years in prison for criminal conspiracy, drug trafficking and other serious crimes. The Italian was wanted for his involvement in the ‘Ndrangheta, the powerful Calabrian mafia, considered one of the largest and most powerful criminal organizations in the world.
Morabito was one of the main references of the South American drug cartels, and investigators followed in his footsteps across the continent in search of his whereabouts. He is considered one of the main representatives of the Morabito-Bruzzaniti-Palamara clan.
Born in 1966 in Africo, Calabria, a young man, he left his native country to spread the traffic in Milan and take care of the transport of drugs from South America to northern Italy. In the 1990s, Morabito became known as the “Cocaine King of Milan”.
The gangster was also called by the nickname “U Tamunga”, for having driven on the roads of Calabria a Dkw Munga, a German military vehicle considered almost indestructible. In Brazil, the car is known as “Candango”.
Luxury living with a false identity in Uruguay
According to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, in 2002, Morabito, wanted by Italian police since 1995, moved to Uruguay, where he continued to lead the ‘Ndraghetta drug trade.
In the South American country, the Italian lived in a luxurious mansion in Punta del Este, under a false identity. With a Brazilian passport in the name of Francesco Antonio Capeletto Souza, he introduced himself as a great businessman in the soybean trade.
He was on the run for 23 years, until his arrest at a luxury hotel in Montevideo in 2017. At the time, Uruguayan authorities seized a 9mm Glock pistol, 13 cell phones, 12 credit cards, 150 photos showing Morabito dressed in his different shapes, with different skin tones, two cars and over US $ 50,000 in cash.
After two years in prison in Uruguay in 2019, as he was about to be extradited to Italy, Morabito and three other international criminals made a cinematic escape through the prison roof and reached the window. from a retiree’s house.
At the scene, the fugitives found themselves face to face with Elida Ituarte. He explained to Ms. Morabito that he had escaped to “visit his sick daughter”. Then the four left, taking the money the old woman had in her wallet. The other three fugitives were recaptured, but Morabito managed to escape and continued to run trafficking businesses in South America.
The Uruguayan court investigated 15 police officers who were on duty at the penitentiary on the day of the escape. A year later, Argentinian police arrested Ferdinando Sarago, a member of the ‘Ndrangheta, who had spent 50,000 euros to bribe officers, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported.
Morabito’s arrest in Paraíba was carried out by the federal police in partnership with the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Abin) and the Italian police. The International Police Cooperation Service also participated in the investigation with the Central Office of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) in Brazil.
The gangster was arrested in a hotel, along with another member of the Ndrangheta, Vincenzo Pasquino, also included in the list of most wanted criminals.