Mafia fugitive caught after seven years on the run thanks to YouTube cooking show

Mafia boss hid his face but forgot to hide his tattoos in cooking video which finally allowed police to track him down to a Caribbean island

Maroosha Muzaffar
Tuesday 30 March 2021 11:13
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<p>File image: An Italian mafia fugitive was caught after seven years on the run thanks to YouTube cooking show</p>

File image: An Italian mafia fugitive was caught after seven years on the run thanks to YouTube cooking show

After lying low for seven years, a mafia fugitive has been tracked down to his hideout on a Caribbean island – thanks to a YouTube video he made to show off his cooking skills.

The Italian police had been looking for Marc Feren Claude Biart, 53 — a cocaine smuggler of the dreaded Ndrangheta, a prominent organised crime syndicate that has been operating since the 18th century in Italy’s Calabria’s region — since 2014.

They finally got a lead on Biart’s location after he uploaded a cooking video on his wife’s YouTube channel, in which he obscured his face but failed to hide his distinctive body tattoos.

According to the Calabria News, Biart was found last Wednesday at least 5,000 miles away from his previous home of Rome, in Boca Chica in the Dominican Republic. He had been wanted by the authorities on drug trafficking charges. 

The authorities in charge of nabbing Biart — that included Interpol and the “work of the Italian Security Expert in Santo Domingo” — didn’t name the YouTube video specifically but said that it was focussed on “Italian cuisine.”

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The Calabria News reported that the “body parts that were viewable revealed the mysterious chef had tattoos that matched what authorities had on record for the escaped mafia member.”

From his hiding place in Boca Chia, Biart and his wife had created a YouTube channel focussed on Italian recipe videos which often featured a mysterious chef with his face hidden.

“The love for Italian cuisine has made it possible to follow the traces left on the web and on social networks,” police said in a statement.

He had fled Italy in 2014 after the Court of Reggio Calabria ordered he be put into custody.

Biart was hiding in Boca Chica in a tourist resort with an Italian community where he had been living for the past five years, going by the name “Marc”.

The Ndrangheta is considered the world’s most powerful organised crime syndicates, according to AFP, as a result of its extensive control of the European cocaine market.

The Guardian reported that yet another Ndrangheta mobster was arrested in Portugal on Monday. Francesco Pelle, who had been on the run for 14 years and was considered one of the most dangerous Italian fugitives, was tracked down at a clinic in Lisbon where he was receiving treatment for Covid-19, it said.

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