ROME – A fugitive 'ndrangheta Italian crime clan boss, accused of international drug trafficking, was taken into custody at a Brazil airport, authorities said Saturday.
Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti hailed the arrest on Friday of Vincenzo Macri, whom he described as a top boss of the Commisso crime clan, based in Siderno, Calabria.
Macri's two years on the run ended when he showed authorities an identity document using a false name at Sao Paulo airport on Friday.
Italian media said Macri, 52, had planned to fly to Caracas, Venezuela, where he is believed to have been living. The reports described him as playing a role as a broker in international cocaine deals for the 'ndrangheta, one of the world's leading cocaine traffickers.
Authorities say Macri inherited the mantle of his father, Antonio Macri, an alleged clan chieftain. Macri was about 10 years old when his father was slain in Calabria in 1975 after a bocce ball game during a bloody 'ndrangheta clan feud. The elder Macri had been given the moniker "boss of two worlds" for close international ties to alleged mobsters in North America and Australia.
Brazilian federal police said that between 2004 and 2015, Vincenzo Macri was part of an international criminal organization that imported and trafficked cocaine and hashish, from Morocco, the Netherlands and the Dominican Republic. The drugs arrived in Italy via shipping containers.
Macri was on the run since 2015, when Italian authorities accused him of international drug trafficking and Mafia association.
A top Italian police official, Alessandro Giuliano, credited "excellent, long-established cooperation" with U.S. federal agents in helping to capture Macri.
Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera said FBI agents had arrested Macri in 1990 for drug trafficking, and that he served a prison sentence until the early 2000s. Later he moved to the Netherlands, where he ran a florist business.
AP reporter Sarah DiLorenzo contributed from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
This story has been corrected to show that Macri was allegedly part of an international criminal organization between 2004 and 2015, not 2004 and 2005.