November 15, 2009 / 7:19 PM / 9 years ago

Italy arrests Mafia boss, on run for 15 years

PALERMO, Italy (Reuters) - Italian police arrested a top Sicilian mafia boss on Sunday who had been a fugitive for more than 15 years, dealing what a minister said was a major blow to the crime syndicate.

Domenico Raccuglia, considered the most prominent member of the Cosa Nostra after the most wanted fugitive, Matteo Messina Denaro, has been convicted in absentia to three life sentences for murder and other Mafia crimes.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said Raccuglia’s arrest was “one of the strongest blows inflicted on Mafia organizations in recent years because he was, effectively, the number two of Cosa Nostra.”

Police said Raccuglia had been seized in a house near Trapani, in the western tip of Sicily, and has been taken to the island’s capital, Palermo. He was considered the head of important Mafia clans operating in and between the two cities.

Although his wife was kept under police surveillance, he managed to father a second child while he was on the run.

Reporting by Wladimiro Pantaleone; writing by Gavin Jones; editing by Michael Roddy

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