ROME – The Italian police hailed on Monday the arrest of a Mafia boss, with a pending triple arrest warrant dating back to 1993, in the Spanish city of Alicante, according to a Rome police statement.
Mafiosi Fausto Pellegrinetti, member of the Roman criminal band “La Magliana” spent the last 24 years on the run while under suspicion of drug trafficking and money laundering.
The head of Rome’s Police mobile brigade, Luigi Silipo, explained at a press conference in Rome that Pellegrinetti’s arrest “summed-up no less than 50 years of Rome’s organized crime” due to his membership to the infamous “Magliana” criminal clan.
Silipo added that the criminal’s arrest had been “particularly complex” even after a quarter century in hiding, as the Mafiosi continued to take every possible precaution to avoid getting caught.
“He is probably very smart, well informed and counting on the passing years would have made police lose interest in getting even with him,” Silipo said, adding the Mafiosi, under a false identity, enjoyed “full backup support” with his family close-by in the Andalusian coastal province of Malaga.
Italian police suspect that, during these years, Pellegrinetti, remained in Spain and, at the most, perhaps shuttled around its cities.
Pellegrinetti, 78, was arrested on Sunday afternoon in the coastal resort of Alicante where he lived in a luxury penthouse flat and will now face a 13-year sentence for criminal association, drug trafficking, and money laundering, according to the Italian police statement.
Italian authorities caught onto Pellegrinetti’s criminal activities in 1992 after a report by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) enabled to follow the money trail of a drug trafficking operation from the US to Europe and Colombia
Pellegrinetti was arrested with one and a half million dollars on him but one year later he managed to escape from a Roman private clinic and flee to Spain, where he continued overseeing drug trade and money laundering operations in Malaga with other criminals.
Large caches of cocaine continued arriving in Rome, and police estimate his organization moved 500 tons of drugs and money-laundered over $55 million.
Known for his many aliases: Franco, Enrico Longo, Franco Pennello or Giulio Dedonese, Pellegrinetti began his criminal career as a thief, until he became specialized in the international drug trade and money laundering.
His arrest culminates a two-year police investigation led by Rome’s police Mobile Brigade unit in collaboration with Spain’s Drugs and Organized Crime Unit (UDYCO) under the coordination of the Anti Mafia Directorate of the Italian capital.
Italian authorities now have 40 days to forward an extradition request to the Spanish courts, to be followed by a court hearing to decide if he is to be extradited back to Italy or not.