Mafia: Arrest of top boss 'cuts head off' of powerful clan
last update: December 07, 14:17
Naples, 7 Dec. (AKI) - A top Italian mafia boss who was on the run for 16 years was arrested Wednesday in the countryside near Naples after police dug him out of a bunker.
"You win, the state wins," said Michele Zagaria, uncontested head of the powerful and violent Casalesi clan of the Camorra crime syndicate, when police dug into his bunker hidden on a farm in Casapesenna, in his native Caserta province.
Zagaria, otherwise known at the ''King of Cement,'' has been sentenced in absentia to life in prison three times for crimes including murder. He earned his nickname after winning numerous public works construction contracts throughout Italy for projects that include the building of a prison.
His arrest led Italy's top anti-mafia prosecutor Piero Grasso to declare that the ''head of the Casalesi has been cut off."
Police been looking for Zagaria, 53, since 1995, and an international arrest warrant for the fugitive.
The Casalesi clan is the considered the Camorra's most powerful. The group took its name from the town Casal di Principe where it has its roots.
The group controls criminal operations worth tens of billions of euros and is considered responsible for hundreds of murders.
Two of Zagaria's brothers were among five people arrested last week on suspicion of having links to the Casalesi.
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