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Italy: 'Most wanted' Calabrian mafia fugitive arrested at southern hideout

last update: August 10, 11:30

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Reggio Calabria, 10 August- (AKI) - One of Italy's most wanted mafia fugutives has been arrested near the town of Rosarno in the southern Calabrian region, Italy's anti-mafia chief announced Wednesday.

Piero Grassi said paramilitary Carabinieri police nabbed 31-year-old Francesco Pesce, alleged boss of the Calabrian mafia in the area around the port of Gioia Tauro late Tuesday during a raid on his rural hideout.

Pesce faces mafia association and a string of other criminal charges.

"I've become a personality," was Pesce's comment upon his arrest at an air-conditioned apartment concealed beneath an agricultural warehouse and accessible via a remote-controlled trap-door.

The three-room apartment had a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, Internet, video surveillance cameras and satellite TV, according to investigators.

Arrested with Pesce was the owner of the warehouse, 44-year-old farmer Antonio Pronesi, who is suspected of 'using mafia methods' to help Pesce avoid arrest over the past 15 months.

Pesce had been on the run since May 2010 when police launched the 'All Inside' operation against the Calabrian mafia in the Rosarno area.

The Italian government has vowed to eradicate the mafia. Since it took office in May 2008 has arrested hundreds of suspects including almost all of a list of the 30 'most wanted' and seized billions of alleged mafia assets

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