Mafia boss strangled pregnant women and dissolved children in acid

A gruesome series of murders catapulted recently arrested mob boss Matteo Denaro to the top of the Cosa Nostra mafia. Even the nickname other mobsters gave him came from a…

A gruesome series of murders catapulted recently arrested mob boss Matteo Denaro to the top of the Cosa Nostra mafia. Even the nickname other mobsters gave him came from a well-known cartoon villain.

In the summer of 1988, a 26-year-old man is brought to the police station in the small town of Castelvetrano in Sicily, which lies deep in the mafia territory. Another murder has been committed in this small town and the police question the young man about whether he saw or heard anything. However, he reassures the disbelieving officers:

“I just like being a farmer, I have nothing to do with the mafia”.

But Matteo Messina Denaro is far from being just a simple farmer. He learned to use a gun at 14 and committed his first murder at 18. His father is even a mafia boss in Castelvetrano and a good acquaintance of the police. Now Denaro runs his own local branch of the mafia with several accomplices under his command. However, the police cannot prove anything and must let him go. This visit was the only time Denaro set foot in a police station until he was finally captured on January 16, 2023 after 30 years on the run.

Denaro was known as a different mobster who did not practice the traditional and conservative virtues of Sicily. He loved expensive cars, famous designer clothes and women.

The mob boss killed one after another

Matteo Messina Denaro is today considered the supreme leader of the Sicilian mafia, known as Cosa Nostra, and his path to the top is colored by one phenomenon – murders. It is believed that Denaro personally killed 50 people and ordered the murder of many more people. He gained his sinister reputation especially after he murdered mob boss Vincenzo Milazzo in 1992 and strangled his pregnant girlfriend.

Denaro is also said to have kidnapped the 11-year-old son of another mobster and held him captive for two years to discourage the father from cooperating with the police. In the end, the son was nevertheless killed and dissolved in acid.

Among the other mobsters, Denaro became known as Diabolik. The name came from a well-known Italian cartoon character – a thief who always evaded the authorities and mercilessly killed his opponents with a knife.

Denaro himself was proud of his achievements: “I’ve filled an entire cemetery alone,” he is said to have said, according to the former mobster.

Video: Matteo Denaro taken away by police

The 60-year-old mafia boss was arrested not far from his old home in Sicily.

In 1992, the mafia boss also approved the murder of two public prosecutors, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino who had made it their mission to fight the mafia in Italy. The murders were ordered by Salvatore Riina, the top leader of the mafia, and were the beginning of Cosa Nostra’s rampant war against the Italian state, which led, among other things, to Denaro planning bomb attacks in Florence, Milan and Rome that killed 10 and injured 93.

But the government fought hard and arrested Riina on January 15, 1993. The police were also on the heels of Denaro, who went into hiding and became Italy’s most wanted man.

When Salvatore Riina died in prison in 2017, Denaro became the last survivor of the old mob bosses and took over as Cosa Nostra’s supreme leader. But then the government did everything to arrest him and on January 16, 2023 it finally succeeded – exactly 30 years after his old boss and teacher Salvatore Riina was arrested.

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