Giuseppe Piromalli was captured in a dawn raid on a luxury fortress disguised as a derelict building in Gioia Tauro, the southern Italian city dominated by the ferocious Piromalli clan.
Along with cases of champagne that the family used to celebrate the elimination of their enemies, the carabinieri seized papers, receipts and diaries.
Piromalli was one of the key figures of the Calabrian mafia. He was among the most wanted mafiosi in the country.
From the outside, the 54-year-old Godfather's hideaway looked like an abandoned two-storey building. Inside it was a bunker apartment protected by devices worthy of a James Bond movie. Wooden panels operated by remote controls covered the outside walls, sliding steel panels protected the windows.
The sound of the pneumatic drills needed to break through the steel door awoke Piromalli, who attempted to flee through a trapdoor onto the rooftops.
However, on seeing carabinieri helicopters with strobe lights hovering above, he returned to his bedroom with its altar dedicated to the Madonna of Polsi, protector of the mountains where mafia members often take refuge. He was unarmed and did not oppose arrest.
Piromalli, the favourite nephew and heir to the fearsome founder of the Piromalli clan, was sentenced to life in absentia in 1991 for the murder of two brothers who challenged the clan's supremacy.
In addition he was wanted for extortion and explosive attacks against the business empire of media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi.Reuse content