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Italian mafia fugitive Edgardo Greco arrested after 16 years on the run, working at pizza restaurant

An Italian fugitive and convicted murderer suspected of belonging to the 'Ndrangheta syndicate, one of Italy's most powerful organized crime groups, was busted this week after more than 16 years on the run, including years spent working at a pizza restaurant in France, the Interpol international police agency said.

Edgardo Greco is seen working at a pizza restaurant in Saint-Etienne, France.    INTERPOL

Edgardo Greco, 63, a fugitive of the Italian state, was arrested Thursday in the city of Saint-Etienne after coordinated efforts by Italian and French authorities, according to Interpol. Greco was handed a life prison sentence in absentia in Italy on charges including a double-homicide and attempted murder during a "mafia war" in the early 1990s.

Greco escaped from temporary police custody in 2006 after an arrest warrant was issued following the killing of brothers Stefano and Giuseppe Bartolomeo, who were beaten to death at a fish market in the town of Cosenza in January 1991, and whose bodies were believed to have been dissolved in acid, according to Italy's national Carabinieri police force. 

Allegedly a member of the Perna-Pranno gang, the Italian outlaw was "untraceable" for years, the Carabinieri said, during which time he took up residence in the town near Lyon, France, where he eventually opened his own pizza parlor.

Operating under the alias of Paolo Dimitrio, Greco was featured in a local newspaper in 2021, advertising the restaurant's authentic Italian cuisine; "I only want to offer regional and homemade recipes," he told Le Progres at the time.

Following his early morning arrest this week, a magistrate in Lyon formally notified Greco of Italy's arrest warrant before placing him in detention.

'Ndrangheta: Hunting members of the mafia that's bigger than La Cosa Nostra 01:41

Considered Italy's most extensive and powerful mafia group, the 'Ndragheta syndicate, based in the southern Calabria region, is believed to have operations on every continent, with strong ties to the cocaine trade between South America and Europe.

Matteo Piantedosi, the Italian interior minister, said the arrest demonstrated the country's commitment to "fighting all forms of organized crime and locating dangerous fugitives," according to Interpol.

Greco is the second mafia-linked fugitive to make headlines this month, following the high-profile arrest of most-wanted mob chief Matteo Messina Denaro, who was apprehended at a private Sicilian clinic after a 30-year manhunt. His alleged co-conspirator and the man whose identity Denaro assumed, Andrea Bonafede, was arrested shortly thereafter

"No matter how hard fugitives try to slip into a quiet life abroad, they cannot evade justice forever," Interpol's Secretary General Jurgen Stock said, "Dedicated officers around the world will always ensure that justice is served."

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