Home News Rocco Morabito, the boss of the ‘Ndrangheta extradited to Italy

Rocco Morabito, the boss of the ‘Ndrangheta extradited to Italy

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Rocco Morabito, the boss of the ‘Ndrangheta extradited to Italy

For years he has played with multiple decks of cards on the tables of justice in multiple countries to avoid extradition to Italy. But this time, to the narcobroker Rocco Morabito the game failed. The 56-year-old boss of the ‘Ndrangheta Rocco Morabito, considered one of the most important international drug traffickers in the world, landed at Rome – Ciampino airport today, extradited from Brazil, where he was arrested on 25 May 2021 by the Brazilian federal police, during a joint operation with the carabinieri del Ros and the provincial command of Reggio Calabria, supported by the International Police Cooperation Service and by the US agencies DEA and FBI. He must serve a definitive sentence of 30 years in prison.

‘Ndrangheta, Brazil: yes to the extradition of Rocco Morabito

“U Tamunga”

Escorted by the Carabinieri del Ros and the provincial command of Reggio Calabria, “U Tamunga” – a curious nickname, perhaps linked to the Dkw Munga, a German military off-road vehicle, with which it seems that as a young man he ran around the streets of Africo – landed at dawn in Rome. In execution of an arrest warrant issued by the public prosecutor of Reggio Calabria, the doors of the prison will now open for him, where he will have to serve a thirty-year sentence for international drug trafficking. An outcome that is not at all obvious.

Six days ago procedure blocked

In investigative circles, many feared until the end that the operation would fail and Morabito would slip through the law for the umpteenth time. Six days ago the extradition procedure from Brazil was blocked because a provisional arrest warrant had been issued against him in the state of Sao Paolo. Exactly the same script that years ago had allowed Tamunga to extend his detention time so much in Uruguay, where for the first time he was arrested as a fugitive, that he was able to put together good contacts to organize his escape from Montevideo prison.

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The daring escape

A daring, “clean” escape – no one fired a shot – sometimes surreal. Together with three other Brazilian inmates, taking advantage of a hole in the surveillance, Morabito came out from the sixth floor of the prison, dropped on the roof of a nearby supermarket and then crashed into the home of the over 80-year-old Elida Duarte. “She assured me that they would not hurt me and she asked me for the keys to the house, to be able to go out the door,” said the old woman at the time, perhaps more perplexed than frightened. “Poor thing, she told me that she had to leave quickly because her daughter is very sick.”

Identity changes

He always knew how to tell the lies “U Tamunga” well. Over the years they have been fundamental to dress up every one of her identities. Young rampant in Milan, wealthy businessman in Uruguay, businessman in Brazil, despite the fact that he was the second most wanted fugitive in the world after Matteo Messina Money, Morabito never hid. Neither has he ever lived as a recluse. Because at Tamunga – the investigators, coordinated by the deputy prosecutor of Reggio Calabria, have reconstructed Giuseppe Lombardo and by the chief prosecutor Giovanni Bombardieri – luxuries have always been liked.

From Locride to Beverly Hills

He left Locride at a very young age and was a well-known face in Milan among the city’s golden youth. And he was often seen at parties and clubs, while he carried on the “family business“, one of the most important ‘Ndrangheta lineages in the Ionian district. In Uruguay, “U Tamunga” was Francisco Antonio Cappelletto Souza, a wealthy businessman officially active in the import-export sector and in the intensive cultivation of soybeans. In reality, from his mega apartment in Punta del Este, located in the exclusive Beverly Hills neighborhood, completely copied by the Californian city of the same name, he managed the importation into Italy of tons and tons of coca. In Brazil, however, Morabito was based in a luxurious hotel in Joao Pessoa, capital of the Brazilian state of Paraiba, in the north of the country, and his life flowed quietly between mornings on the beach and nights in bars.

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The broker of Latin America

A young African with a desire to emerge, an expert logist of traffics in Milan, a broker with a thousand contacts in Latin America, Morabito has lived many lives, a thousand identities. Only one thing he never managed to hide: the thick eyebrows, which often gave him away when investigators were after him. Now, he is waiting for another round of the joust of existence: the one as a prisoner in Italian prisons. And for a long time.

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