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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a fugitive Italian mafia suspect who was identified on Friday by the Italian government as a leader of the 'Ndrangheta organized crime group.
Italy's Interior Minister Roberto Maroni cheered the arrest of Giuseppe Coluccio, a suspected drug trafficker, who has been on the run since 2005. The country's defense minister, Ignazio La Russa, said the arrest showed authorities were making advances in the fight against organized crime.
"Coluccio had lived happily in Canada thanks to the (support) provided by the Calabrian clans -- a situation that shows the extraordinary reach of the 'Ndrangheta," public prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone was quoted by Italian media as saying. Italy's ANSA news agency reported that police found $1 million in checks at Coluccio's home.
Canadian Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said in a statement late on Thursday that Coluccio was arrested near Toronto on a Canada-wide immigration warrant and is wanted by Italy for drug-related offenses.
'Ndrangheta, based in the southern Calabria region, has reportedly overtaken Sicily's Cosa Nostra to become the most powerful Italian crime group.
Reporting by Randall Palmer in Ottawa and Phil Stewart in Rome