BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 February 2008, 11:24 GMT
'Mafia boss' arrested in Italy
Pasquale Condello (centre) escorted by Italian policemen
Mr Condello is also known as "the supreme one"
Italian police have arrested the leader of one of the country's most powerful mafia groups, officials have said.

Pasquale Condello, 57, was held in a house in Reggio Calabria, on mainland Italy's southern tip, police said.

Interior Minister Giuliano Amato said Mr Condello was the "number one boss of the 'Ndrangheta" crime syndicate.

Mr Condello had been on the run since a murder conviction in 1987. The 'Ndrangheta is considered to be more powerful than the Sicilian Mafia.

"It is the latest, extraordinary operation against organised crime," Mr Amato said of the arrest.

map

He said investigators called him the "Provenzano of Calabria" - a reference to Bernardo Provenzano, the Sicilian "boss of bosses" who was arrested in 2006 after some 40 years as a fugitive.

Mr Condello is also known as "the supreme one" for his role at the top of the crime syndicate.

He was taken into custody without a struggle, police said. He had been trailed for days and was found in the company of his son-in-law and a nephew, who are also being interrogated by police.

He had received several life prison terms for a series of crimes, prosecutor Alberto Cisterna told Sky TG24 television.

Italian officials believe the 'Ndrangheta controls cocaine trafficking in many parts of Europe.

While police have scored recent triumphs against other mafia syndicates in Italy, penetration of the 'Ndrangheta has been less successful due to its tight family ties.

Membership of the 'Ndrangheta - which means "Honoured Society" - is believed to number in the tens of thousands.

Last year, rival clans of the 'Ndrangheta were linked to the murders of six Italian men at a pizza parlour in Germany.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Police escort a handcuffed Pasquale Condello



SEE ALSO
A mafia family feud spills over
16 Aug 07 |  Europe



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific