A convicted Italian murderer linked to one of the country’s most powerful mafia organisations was arrested in France after 16 years on the run, Interpol has said.
Edgardo Greco, 63, was taken into custody in Saint-Etienne, France, on Thursday, where he had at one point been working as a pizza maker, French prosecutors said.
He is suspected of belonging to the ‘Ndrangheta mafia organisation in Calabria, southern Italy.
Greco ran the Italian restaurant under an alias in the French city, where he had lived since 2014.
He was wanted for two murders in 2006 and attempted murder in another case.
Italian authorities said brothers Stefano and Giuseppe Bartolomeo were beaten to death with a metal bar in a fish shop in Calabria in 2006.
Greco is also accused there of the attempted murder of Emiliano Mosciaro as part of a mafia war between the Pino Sena and Perna Pranno gangs in the early 1990s.
Greco owned the Caffe Rossini Ristorante in Saint-Etienne from June to November 2021, French prosecutors said.
He used the name Paolo Dimitrio and also worked in other Italian restaurants in the city, AFP reported.
A still-open Facebook account for the Caffe Rossini Ristorante, which now appears to have been closed down, shows local press covered its opening in 2021.
“Paolo Dimitrio opens the restaurant of his dreams,” said the headline in the article in the local Le Progres newspaper.
Greco also worked evenings in a pizza restaurant under his assumed named, according to Italian media.
After his arrest in the early hours of the morning, he appeared before an investigating magistrate in Lyon who formally notified him of Italy’s arrest warrant, prosecutors said.
He was then placed in detention.
Italy’s most powerful mafia group
Greco’s arrest was made possible with help from Interpol’s “Co-operation against ‘Ndrangheta Project”, which supports police collaboration between its 195 member states.
Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi said the arrests demonstrated his country’s commitment to “fighting all forms of organised crime and locating dangerous fugitives”.
The ‘Ndrangheta is considered Italy’s most extensive and powerful mafia group, Interpol said, operating worldwide and with strong ties to the trade in cocaine bound for Europe from South America.
The arrest of Greco came a week after Italian police said it had dismantled a ‘Ndrangheta mafia ring dominating a large area of southern Calabria and seized assets exceeding €250 million ($270 million).
Fifty-six people, many already in prison, were put under criminal investigation for a series of crimes including mafia-related conspiracy, extortion, kidnapping, bribery and possession of weapons, police and prosecutors said.
His arrest also came two weeks after Italian police arrested one of the most notorious bosses of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra mafia, Matteo Denaro, 60, who had been on the run for 30 years.
Denaro was arrested after visiting a health clinic where he was being treated in the Sicilian capital of Palermo.