Mafia boss caught in hi-tech bunker

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The Independent Online
ONE OF ITALY'S most powerful mafia chiefs was arrested yesterday after police tracked him to a secret hideout concealed in a derelict hut.

In what could have been a scene from the finale of a James Bond film, Italian police who stormed the decrepit building looking for Giuseppe Piromalli, chief of one of the most feared clans in the Calabrian mafia, found a fortified complex packed with hidden rooms, protected by electronic metal shutters and a remote operated secret escape route fit for any aspiring Blofeld. The security screens were so tough police had to use pneumatic drills to break their way in.

But it was not enough to prevent the anti-mafia task force catching their man who is listed as one of Italy's 30 most wanted criminals. The operation, under cover of darkness at a hideout in the southern town of Gioia Tauro, was being hailed as a success yesterday by police.

On the run since 1993, Piromalli was already sentenced to life for murder and stood accused of mafia association and extortion. "In the hit parade of the top 30 fugitives, Piromalli was at the highest level." Ottaviano Del Turco, head of parliament's anti-mafia commission, said yesterday.