Latin America

Rocco Morabito: Italian mafia boss escapes from Uruguayan prison

Italian mafia boss Rocco Morabito has escaped from prison in Uruguay, where he was awaiting extradition to Italy, the interior ministry has said.

Uruguay had agreed to extradite the notorious drug trader known as the "cocaine king of Milan" back to Italy.

The suspected head of the 'Ndrangheta crime gang has been one of Italy's most wanted fugitives since 1995.

He was arrested in 2017 in Punta del Este, where he had been living under a false identity for about a decade.

The 'Ndrangheta mafia comes from Calabria in southern Italy, and is thought to control as much as 80% of Europe's cocaine trade.

Morabito and three other inmates "escaped through a hole in the roof of the building" late on Sunday and robbed the owner of a nearby farmhouse for money, the ministry said in a statement (in Spanish).

"It is disconcerting and serious that a criminal like Rocco Morabito, head of the 'Ndrangheta, has managed to escape from a prison in Uruguay while waiting to be extradited to Italy," Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said in a brief statement.

He added he would "keep hunting Morabito, wherever he is, to put him in jail as he deserves".

Skip Twitter post by @matteosalvinimi

Mi prendo due impegni.
Primo: fare piena luce sulle modalità dellevasione, chiedendo spiegazioni immediate al governo di Montevideo.
Secondo: continuare a dare la caccia a Morabito, ovunque sia, per sbatterlo in galera come merita.

— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) June 24, 2019

End of Twitter post by @matteosalvinimi

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