Italy Arrests Major Mafia Boss Who Was Hiding In Underground Bunker

Dec 7, 2011
Originally published on December 7, 2011 2:14 pm

Italian police had to drill into a concrete bunker underground to get to Michele Zagaria. As NPR's Sylvia Poggioli tells our Newscast unit, the arrest of the mob boss is "huge."

Sylvia adds that Michele Zagaria "is the head of one of the bloodiest clans of the Neapolitan mafia called the Camorra and they've been involved in an enormous number of illegal activity. Probably the most prominent is the illegal transport and disposal of toxic waste, which has become a huge problem in the whole Naples area."

Reuters has a bit more on the story:

"The 53-year-old, sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for murder in 2008, was captured in his home town of Casapesenna, police said.

"Zagaria's bunker was about 50 square meters (540 sq feet) in size and hidden behind a 5-metre (16 feet) thick wall of reinforced concrete that opened and closed electronically.

"Police cut off electricity and air to the bunker, and then drilled through the wall, according to police sources. The bunker was decorated with crucifixes and sacred images, and it was clear that he had lived there for years, they said."

The BBC reports that there was "jubilation" among the authorities who made the arrest and that Zagaria admitted defeat.

"You won. The state has won," the BBC reports Zagaria told authorities.

Sylvia adds that the arrest comes a day after a police arrested 50 others in relation to mob activity.

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