Italian drug kingpin arrested after two decades

A convicted Italian drug kingpin has been arrested in Uruguay after being on the run for over 20 years, authorities said here in a statement.

Rocco Morabito, described by the authorities as a prominent member of the Calabrian Mafia, had been wanted since 1994. He was convicted in absentia for drug trafficking and organised-crime activities in Italy, and was sentenced to 30 years in prison, reports CNN.

Italian authorities said that Morabito had been responsible for shipping drugs into the country and arranging distribution in Milan.

The Uruguayan Interior Ministry said Morabito was arrested on September 2 in a hotel here.

Italian police said the arrest followed “months of international cooperation and intelligence activity”.

Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti lauded Morabito’s arrest, saying he was considered one of the most sought-after members of the Calabrian Mafia.

Uruguayan authorities said some months ago that Morabito tried to enrol his daughter in a local school using his real name, and his fingerprints were confirmed by Italian authorities, CNN reported.

Interpol issued a red notice for Morabito — its highest-priority international arrest warrant in 1995 following an arrest warrant issued by Italian prosecutors.

When he was arrested, Morabito had 13 cell phones, an automatic pistol, 12 credit and debit cards, a large quantity of Uruguayan money and $50,000 in cash, plus currency certificates worth $100,000, the Uruguayan Interior Ministry added.

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