Arrest of mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro is not the end of the Cosa Nostra

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Matteo Messina Denaro, one of the leaders of the Sicilian mafia, the Cosa Nostra, has finally been detained after 30 years on the run. His arrest came as around 100 police officers surrounded the private Maddalena clinic in Palermo where they had discovered he was receiving treatment.

Rumours had been rife for weeks that Denaro was ill and having chemotherapy – but it came as a surprise to the public that Italy’s most wanted man was having treatment in a Palermo clinic alongside ordinary citizens. Investigators explained at their press conference that it was his need for healthcare that finally enabled them to identify him and move in.

Denaro’s arrest on January 16 came exactly 30 years and one day after the arrest of his mentor, the boss, Toto “the Beast” Riina. It seems significant that after three decades on the run, this was the date the state finally managed to catch up with him. It may indicate that the internal dynamics of Cosa Nostra are changing and that someone had decided to give him up because he was no longer considered “useful”.

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