La cattura dei latitanti


On 24 June 1995, at 7.30 p.m., in viale delle Scienze in Palermo, DIA staff from Rome and Palermo, ending a long lasting investigation, arrested the well-known mafia boss of Cosa Nostra BAGARELLA Leoluca. Since 1991, he had been a fugitive and had been suspected of having committed serious offences, from mafia-type association, murders to massacres related to the Sicilian massacres of 1992.
DIA officers tailed a Lancia Y10, from which, just minutes before, CALVARUSO Antonino, had gotten off. The latter was known for his membership to a mafia organization, and had been arrested for aiding and abetting BAGARELLA. DIA officers stopped the car and arrested the boss without allowing him to react.
Immediately after the arrest, DIA investigators examined the documents seized from the fugitive and with the support of some crown witnesses succeeded in reconstructing the fundamental contribution given by BAGARELLA and the GRAVIANO brothers to the organization of the massacres of Capaci and via d’Amelio. Furthermore, it was possible to outline the prominent role within Cosa Nostra of BAGARELLA Leoluca, mainly after the arrest of his brother-in-law RIINA Salvatore in January 1993.
Subsequently, most of the affiliates of the so-called fire groups directly reporting to BAGARELLA were identified and arrested. The ensuing intense and successful investigative activity produced important results both related to the rest of the organizational and operational structure of the corleonesi and those responsible for the massacres in 1993 and 1994.


The fugitive Giuseppe MALLARDO, born on 7 March 1953 in Giugliano in Campania, was the undisputed head of the Mallardo Camorra clan that plays a dominant role on the Campania criminal scene. He was arrested by officers of the Naples DIA on the morning of 21 August 1996 in a villa on Lake Patria, near Naples, at the end of a complex investigation called “Vigilantes”. MALLARDO was wanted for several offences, including Mafia-type criminal association, homicide and others.
The operation, coordinated by the Direzione Distrettuale Antimafia of Naples, seriously damaged the Camorra organization led by the MALLARDO family and shed light on the killings of Pietro and Luigi D’ALTERIO in Giugliano on 4 June 1991 and of Cristofaro CHIANESE and Saverio PALMA in Qualiano on 26 June 1991. These killings are thought to be the work of Giuseppe MALLARDO and other members of his family.
MALLARDO is not only a historic head of the Neapolitan Camorra, but also related to the CONTINI and LICCIARDI families. The criminal syndicate he built with them controlled illegal activities in the western area of Naples, Secondigliano and Giugliano in Campania for over a decade. In the late 1980s he was among those who championed a reorganization of the Neapolitan Camorra known as “Nuova Camorra Campana” thanks to his strong alliances with the MOCCIA families from Afragola, the ALFIERI clan from Nola and the “CASALESI” clan from the Caserta area.
At the time of his arrest, MALLARDO was carrying neither arms nor identity documents and did not resist. He was in the company of Salvatore GAETA, born on 28 Aug. 1955 in Naples, a dentist practising in Naples and Ischia and a tenant in the house where both of them were found by the police. GAETA was arrested along with MALLARDO on charges of aiding a fugitive.


On 11 July 1998 in Casal di Principe, in the province of Caserta, officers from the DIA’s Operational Centre in Naples arrested the notorious fugitive Francesco SCHIAVONE, also known as “Sandokan”, in a bunker below a storage facility. He was on the list of the 30 most dangerous fugitives and had been on the run for more than 10 years.
The police raid led to the fugitive’s capture and to the seizure of numerous arms and military grade munitions found in the bunker. The property owner, Giancarlo MARTELLO NOVIELLO, was arrested on charges of aiding a fugitive.
Wanted on several warrants for crimes against the person, against property, against the public administration, for public order offences and arms and drug-related offences, SCHIAVONE was considered the undisputed head of the powerful CASALESI clan.
On 2 December 1998, six preventive custody orders were executed against six people, all with clean criminal records, who had established a group of collaborators to help the mafia boss stay on the run.


On the morning of 12 October 2000 in Località Argivocale in the municipality of San Cipirello, in the province of Palermo, the Palermo DIA arrested the fugitive Salvatore GENOVESE. Although he was carrying a 38 Special revolver, he did not resist arrest. Together with GENOVESE, three other people were arrested and one woman was reported to the judicial authority, but not arrested, on charges of aggravated aiding of a fugitive because they were the ones who provided GENOVESE with the farmhouse he used as a hideout.
The above investigation was started in April 1999 with the aim of identifying the members of a Mafia clan from San Giuseppe Jato and of tracking down the fugitive GENOVESE, head of the territory controlled by his family and high-ranking member of Cosa Nostra, who was considered to be a very loyal ally of the notorious Bernardo PROVENZANO.
GENOVESE was very close to the BRUSCA and DI MAGGIO families, he first supported them and then inherited their leadership in a wide range of areas of interest for the criminal organization.
The investigation, which involved many man-hours of work, was carried out in the face of countless difficulties posed not least by a hostile attitude at local level and by the particular nature of the investigative context.
Included in a “special search programme” targeting the 30 most dangerous fugitives at national level, GENOVESE had been on the run since 1993 from several preventive custody orders issued over time by the judicial authorities on charges of Mafia-type criminal association, extortion, kidnapping and ordering and/or carrying out at least eight killings.
The ex-fugitive is allegedly behind a number of heinous killings, the most egregious being those of Rosario RICCOBONO and of three other men of honour who were strangled in San Giuseppe Jato along with other Mafiosi belonging to the “Corleonesi” family.
GENOVESE was convicted of these and other crimes with a final judgment and sentenced to life imprisonment.


On the evening of 16 May 2001 in Marano, north-west of Naples, officers from the DIA’s Operational Centre of Naples arrested the notorious fugitive Angelo NUVOLETTO, undisputed head of the Nuvoletta clan acting as a contact for the Sicilian Mafia in Campania. Two other people were arrested on suspicion of collaborating with him.
In addition to being on the list of the 30 most dangerous fugitives and wanted also internationally, NUVOLETTA had been in hiding for a good 17 years when a special police supervision order was issued, but which was never served on him.
Several warrants were outstanding against him for Mafia-type association, drug trafficking, homicide, concealment of a corpse and other offences.
More specifically, in one of these warrants NUVOLETTA was charged with the murder of journalist Giancarlo SIANI, for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court of Cassation.
Further investigations led the Naples DIA in October 2003 to execute a preventive custody order issued by the Preliminary Investigation Judge of Naples against Angelo NUVOLETTA and 12 other people suspected of Camorra-type association and other offences.
Angelo NUVOLETTA died on 20 October 2013.


On 14 August 2005, in a law enforcement action against individuals linked to the well-known FABBROCINO clan, officers from the DIA’s Operational Centre in Naples tracked down and arrested the fugitive Mario FABBROCINO in a villa belonging to an apparently innocent businessman in San Giuseppe Vesuviano, in the province of Naples. The owner of the villa was also arrested on charges of aggravated aiding of a fugitive.
On 31 August 2005, another person was arrested under a preventive custody order on charges of aiding the above Camorra boss.
On 5 January 2006, in the context of the same investigation, officers of the Operational Centre in Naples arrested a member of the FABBROCINO clan, who was the custodian of a considerable quantity of firearms and ammunition found and seized in a plot of land in Terzigno, near Naples.
On 26 May 2006, further investigations led to the execution of nine preventive custody orders against nine associates of the same criminal group suspected of Mafia-type association, extortion, receiving stolen goods, usury and false registration of assets. Among the arrestees were the clan boss himself, Mario FABBROCINO, at that time detained in prison in Tolmezzo, in the province of Udine, and Berardo STRIANO, area boss for the clan in San Giuseppe Vesuviano. The custody order was issued on charges of Mafia-type association, extortion, receiving of stolen goods, unlawful possession and carrying of firearms and false registration of assets, all offences being considered as aggravated under anti-Mafia legislation.
At the same time, the shares and equipment of a company manufacturing aluminium bars allegedly linked to Berardo STRIANO were also placed under preventive seizure, their value being estimated at €450,000.
The DIA had already turned their attention to FABBROCINO and at the end of complex investigations conducted during Operation “INCUDINE” they had him arrested on 3 September 1997 by the Federal Police in Argentina and extradited on 6 March 2001 to Italy where he was wanted for conspiracy to traffic drugs and a number of homicides.
From June 1998 to April 2000, Operation “INCUDINE” led to the arrest of 28 members of the FABBROCINO clan.


On the early afternoon of 10 September 2009, officers from the Palermo DIA arrested the fugitive Filippo LA ROSA, included on the Ministry of Interior’s special list. He had been wanted since 1993 after he had been convicted of murder and other crimes and sentenced with a final judgment to life imprisonment.
Considered a man of honour of the CIACULLI–CROCEVERDE GIARDINI family, he was hiding inside a family-owned shed concealed by thick vegetation in a field in Palermo, in the hamlet of Ciaculli.
Filippo LA ROSA comes from a family clearly connected to the Mafia and has family and business ties to the most prominent Mafia families in Palermo, such as the GRECO from Ciaculli and MARCHESE from Corso dei Mille.
Accused of being a Mafia hitman by several collaborators with justice, he was convicted with a final sentence of killing Giovanni FICI on 1 February 1988 in Palermo. The capture of LA ROSA was accomplished by employing traditional investigative techniques, without resorting to justice collaborators, in spite of the difficulties posed by the area where the investigation took place.


On 4 August 2020, at the end of an in-depth investigation assigned by the Anti-Mafia Prosecutor’s Office of Palermo, the DIA arrested Leonardo BADALAMENTI with the support of the Direzione Centrale della Polizia Criminale. In addition to being under special police supervision due to his long criminal record of arrests, charges and convictions in Italy and abroad (mafia-type criminal association, homicide, drug-related offences), BADALAMENTI was also wanted for evading execution of a prison sentence of five years and ten months handed down by the Criminal Forum of Barra Funda, São Paulo, Brazil, for conspiracy to traffic drugs and false swearing in public documents.
Investigations, including those of a technical nature, revealed that Leonardo BADALAMENTI was registered as residing in Castellamare del Golfo, a seaside town near Trapani, Sicily, with other family members.
The son of Gaetano BADALAMENTI, a famous historic Cosa Nostra boss, Leonardo went into hiding in Brazil in the 1980s and returned to Italy in June 2017. In this way he escaped a series of killings carried out by the Corleonesi clan in order to take out those who, through their own actions or even by simply belonging to the rival faction, might hinder them from reaching top-level positions within Cosa Nostra.
Even in South America, Leonardo BADALAMENTI stood out for his crimes which were extensively reported in the local media.