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Crime: Notorious mafia boss arrested in Madrid. Fugitive spent two years on the run from Italian authorities

Jack Troughton | August 9, 2021
Mafia (bay)

A MAFIA chief once known as the ‘boss of bosses’ has been arrested in Spain after spending two years hidden away in Madrid and on the run as one of Italy’s ‘most wanted’.

Domenico Paviglianiti is wanted in his homeland for a string of crimes and is believed to be the instigator of nearly 130 murders.

The 60-year-old was held on Tuesday in a joint operation between Spain’s National Police and the Italian Carabinieri as he stepped out of his home in the capital where he had been hiding.

Paviglianiti fled Italy after being mistakenly released from prison where he was serving a 30-year sentence – a court earlier this year added a further 11 years and eight months for murder and criminal association.

Detectives immediately looked to Spain where the fugitive had been acted in the 1980s and 1990s – the operation first centred on Barcelona where one of his daughters visited from time to time and they were in contact through intermediaries; and Italian police discovered other family members were due to travel.

However, the operation switched to Madrid. It was discovered Paviglianiti was living in Calle Don Quixote in the Cuatro Caminos area and sharing a home with a Latin American woman and her son.

Police swooped when they were “99% certain” they had found their man. Spanish officers said he “remained calm” throughout and said “it was all a mistake by the Italian authorities”.

And they said he was carrying a fake Portuguese passport, a mobile phone and €6.000 in cash – a search of his home revealed another five mobile phones.

Paviglianiti is considered to be head of one of the families of the ‘Ndrangheta, an organised crime syndicate; based in Italy’s Calabria region it controls much of Europe’s cocaine trade.