If you’re a True Crime fanatic, well, you are in luck. As if Netflix’s release of ‘Unsolved Mysteries‘ last month wasn’t enough, it has launched yet another binge-able mysterious series, this time focusing on the deadliest of fugitives. Their heinous crimes have left us all speechless and, what’s worse is that they have managed to escape capture for decades. Profiling Mafia bosses, terrorists, and cartel leaders, this series shines a light on five of the ‘World’s Most Wanted’ criminals. And, one of them is Matteo Messina Denaro.
Who Is Matteo Messina Denaro?
Matteo Messina Denaro, also known as Diabolik, is a Sicilian Mafia boss. Born on April 26, 1962, into the Denaro Family- a well-known Mafia family – in Castelvetrano, in the province of Trapani, Sicily, Matteo grew up learning the ways of the “business.” The fact that he was born into Mafia was something that he liked to flaunt, even at a young age. His father, Francesco Messina Denaro, known as Don Ciccio, was a captain of Castelvetrano and the head of the Mafia Commission of the Trapani region. So, it’s genuinely no surprise that Matteo learned how to use a gun at 14, and committed the first of his many murders at 18. The mobster has even bragged about the fact that he can have his own personal cemetery with how many lives he has taken.
Salvatore Riina was the chief of the Sicilian Mafia and a ruthless murderer. He replaced all his captains by killing them, but for some reason, he pardoned Francesco Denaro. Therefore, to show the boss his gratitude, Francesco handed over his son to him. And thus, Matteo did his training under Riina and became just as vicious. After the natural death of his father in November 1998, Matteo took up his position and got the leadership of the area. And, in 2001, he took over overseeing the business in the entirety of Trapani. It is said that he commanded over 900 men and allegedly reorganized the 20 Mafia families in Trapani into a single one to be separated from the rest of Cosa Nostra.
But, it was his role after the 1992 attacks that gave him the most success. After the Capaci and Via D’Amelio bombings, when Salvatore Riina was arrested on 15 January 1993, the Cosa Nostra allegiance embarked on a terrorist campaign in which Matteo Messina Denaro played a prominent role. The remaining Mafia bosses, including Matteo, had decided to strike back and force the government to retreat. And thus, the series of bomb attacks on in the Via dei Georgofili in Florence, in Via Palestro in Milan, in the Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano, and in Via San Teodoro in Rome took place. After the bombings were all done, in June 1993, Matteo went into hiding for good.
Where Is Matteo Messina Denaro Today?
There have been various attempts to capture Matteo over the years, but none of them have been fruitful. His assets have been seized and the people closest to him have been arrested, but Matteo has never been found. In March of 2010, his brother, Salvatore Messina Denaro, and 18 others were arrested and charged with helping Matteo to remain on the run, along with mafia association, corruption, and protection rackets.
Then, in 2011, the police surrounded and raided a manor farm ten minutes from his hometown in Castelvetran after getting a serious tip, but found no sign him. In March 2014, months after they had arrested his sister as well, the police issued another photofit of him after an informant claimed to have seen him. Then, finally, in 2017, over 200 Italian police officers executed search warrants on different properties in and around Castelvetran in search of him, but again, to no avail.
Even the help of a “Mafia Traitor” – Matteo’s relative and his right-hand man, Cimarosa Lorenzo – didn’t help the police in finding the last, most important, Cosa Nostra fugitive mob boss. And, because of that betrayal, Matteo can’t – won’t – ever come out of hiding. There is no way of knowing where he is now or what he’s up to, but as long as he is alive and well, so is the Mafia in Italy. Authorities still believe that he resides near his hometown in the province of Trapani, so they are determined to keep on working hard to find ways to get to him – with the hopes of, one day, ending this story in his arrest. (Featured Image Credit: Netflix / World’s Most Wanted)