'Mafia boss' arrested in Italy

Other News Materials 19 February 2008 03:06 (UTC +04:00)

( BBC ) - Italian police have arrested the leader of one of the country's most powerful Mafia groups, officials say.

Pasquale Condello, 57, was arrested in a house in Calabria, in mainland Italy's southern tip, police said.

Interior Minister Giuliano Amato said Mr Condello was the "number one boss of the 'Ndrangheta" crime syndicate.

Mr Condello had been on the run since a murder conviction in the late 1980s. The 'Ndrangheta is considered to be more powerful than the Sicilian mafia.

"It is the latest, extraordinary operation against organised crime," Mr Amato said of the arrest.

Italian investigators believe the 'Ndrangheta controls cocaine trafficking in many parts of Europe.

While police have scored recent triumphs against other Mafia syndicates in Italy, penetration of the 'Ndrangheta has been less successful due to its tight family ties.

Membership of the 'Ndrangheta - which means "Honoured Society" - is believed to number in the tens of thousands.

Last year, rival clans of the 'Ndrangheta were linked to the murders of six Italian men at a pizza parlour in Germany.