Italy’s Massive Hunt for Matteo Messina Denaro, the Sicilian Mafia Boss of Bosses

The undisputed boss of bosses in the Sicilian mafia may soon be sitting behind bars as Italian law enforcement ratchets up its hunt in a massive series of raids. They are conducting the recent blitz in search of Matteo Messina Denaro, who has been a fugitive since 1993.

The Boss of Bosses

By all accounts, Matteo Messina Denaro, aka “Diabolik,” is the alleged head of the Costa Nostra, or Sicilian mafia. He’s said to have been a mob leader since his boss, Bernardo Provenzano, was arrested in 2006 and the ultimate boss since Salvatore “Toto” Riina died in November 2017. An interesting feat considering Denaro has been in hiding since 1993!

Denaro is as close to a cinematic mafia character as you can get. He was born into the mafia and committed his first murder for his family at the age of 18. He once killed a rival mob boss and then strangled that mob boss’ pregnant girlfriend with his bare hands.

Matteo Messina Denaro was a big ladies man, attractive, and a fan of fast and flashy cars…but that’s not all he was into. Murder, racketeering, drugs, you name it: Denaro and his mafia connections were involved with it.

Denaro has long been wanted in connection with some bombings in the mid-90s that killed a number of people, including two prosecutors, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.

The Search for Matteo Messina Denaro

As Denaro has reportedly rejected modern technology in his communications with those who work for him in favor or more traditional, harder-to-track methods, police officials have had a hard time nailing him down to one place. Combining this low visibility with how protected he is from within his mafia family, Matteo Messina Denaro has managed to escape custody for over 20 years.

But in a recently upscaled effort to root him out, police in Italy are executing a massive police action.

A force consisting of over 200 officers has descended upon multiple potential mafia targets, including warehouses, farmhouses, other buildings, grottos, and caverns in the area of Castelvetrano, Denaro’s hometown in Sicily.

In the process, Italian authorities are investigating at least 30 alleged mafia members who own buildings and properties. The hope is that, between these other alleged mafia members going down and the properties being searched, Denaro will be spooked out of his hole and captured.