Prison Can't Hold Mafia Boss

Italian drug kingpin escapes in Uruguay
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2019 7:17 PM CDT
Prison Can't Hold Mafia Boss
Rocco Morabito, arrested in 2017, has escaped in Uruguay while awaiting extradition to Italy.   (Italian Police via AP)

An Italian mafia boss and three other inmates broke out of a prison in Uruguay through a hole in the roof, the government said. The escapees robbed the owners of a farmhouse nearby before vanishing, per CNN. Rocco Morabito, who was arrested in 2017 after being a fugitive for more than 20 years, was being held in Montevideo while awaiting extradition to Italy. He's been sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted in absentia for drug trafficking and organized-crime activities in Italy. Morabito arrived in Uruguay in 2001 with false Brazilian identification papers, officials say, and lived in a villa near the resort city of Punta del Este for about a decade.

Interpol issued its highest-priority international arrest warrant for the four escapees. Morabito belongs to the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta, Italy's most powerful organized crime group, which is the biggest importers of cocaine in Europe, per the Independent. Italy's interior minister was upset by the escape and vowed to get answers from the government in Montevideo. "We will continue to hunt down Morabito," he said, "wherever he is, to throw him in jail as he deserves." (Read more Calabrian Mafia stories.)

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