Italian ‘cocaine king’ makes a daring nighttime rooftop escape

Mugshot of Rocco Morabito, the Italian Mob boss dubbed the "king of Cocaine". Uruguay's Ministry of Interior

An Italian mob boss, who had been imprisoned in Uruguay since 2017, escaped from jail overnight as he was waiting to be extradited back to Italy, the South American country’s interior ministry said on Monday.

Rocco Morabito had been the most wanted fugitive member of the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta, Italy’s most powerful organized crime group and one of Europe’s biggest importers of South American cocaine.

WATCH BELOW: European operation on organized crime leads to dozens arrested

Click to play video: 'European operation on organized crime leads to dozens arrested' European operation on organized crime leads to dozens arrested
European operation on organized crime leads to dozens arrested – Dec 5, 2018

Dubbed the “cocaine king of Milan,” the 52-year-old Morabito had been arrested after more than two decades on the run from convictions for Mafia association, drug trafficking and other serious crimes.

Story continues below advertisement

Uruguay’s interior ministry said in a statement that Morabito and three others had escaped late at night through the roof of the former Carcel Central prison – now called a national rehabilitation center – onto an adjoining building.

Fencing of the National Institute of Rehabilitation (INR) where Italian mob boss Rocco Morabito and three others escaped from in Montevideo, Uruguay. REUTERS / Mariana Greif

READ MORE: Police launch coordinated raids on Italian Mafia in Europe

“It is disconcerting and serious that a criminal like Rocco Morabito, boss of the ‘Ndrangheta, managed to escape from a jail in Uruguay while he was waiting to be extradited to Italy,” Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said.

“I make two commitments, First: to shed light on evasion procedures, asking for immediate explanations from the Montevideo government. Second: we will continue to hunt down Morabito, wherever he is, to throw him in jail as he deserves.”

READ MORE: Police in Italy arrest mafia’s news ‘boss of bosses’ in Sicily

(Reporting by Eloisa Capurro in Montevideo and Giselda Vagnoni in Rome; Writing by Adam Jourdan; editing by Bill Berkrot)


Sponsored content