A suspected boss of Italy’s powerful ‘Ndrangheta mafia clan, which controls much of Europe’s cocaine trade, has been arrested in Spain.
Domenico Paviglianiti, one of Italy’s most wanted fugitives, was detained on the streets of Madrid, officials say.
Dubbed the “boss of the bosses”, Paviglianiti, 60, had been on the run for two years.
The ‘Ndrangheta is one of the world’s richest criminal groups, operating from Calabria in southern Italy.
Officers hunted the fugitive down following a joint operation carried out by Italian and Spanish authorities.
Paviglianiti had six mobile phones, nearly €6,000 (£5,000) in cash and fake Portuguese documentation on him when he was arrested on Tuesday while leaving his house.
Wanted for his role in crimes committed in the 1980s and 1990s, including murder and drug trafficking, Paviglianiti was first arrested in Spain in 1996.
He was extradited three years later to Italy, where he was convicted and began serving a life sentence. But in 2019 he was released early due to an error in his sentencing.
He fled to Spain, where he was allegedly helped by family members who live there.
An Italian court handed Paviglianiti a fresh 11-year jail sentence in absentia in January for a series of crimes, including murder and criminal association with the aim of drug trafficking.
Police believe Paviglianiti is the head of a ‘Ndrangheta clan, overseeing shipments of cocaine from South America.
The ‘Ndrangheta has amassed huge wealth importing cocaine from Latin America and hashish from North Africa into Europe.