Dangerous fugitive captured in Italy

An Italian fugitive listed as one of the top 30 most dangerous criminals in Italy and was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment in 2003 was arrested in Sicily today, Italian police said.

Mobster Giovanni Arena, one of the leaders of the mafia Santapaola clan, was arrested during a police raid in the Librino area of Catania. He had been on the run from police since eluding capture in an anti-mafia raid in 1993.

The 56-year-old was sentenced to life in prison for murdering a member of the rival Ferrera clan in October 1989. He is also wanted for mafia association, drug trafficking and harbouring illegal weapons.

Police believe Arena also had a role in an arson attack on a Standa supermarket in the centre of Catania on January 18, 1990, on the day an anti-mafia commission arrived in town.

The Standa supermarket chain belonged to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's business group at the time.

The fugitive had evaded capture by relying on his clan's protection.

Italy's Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said it was "a good day in the fight against the mafia."

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