Fugitive 'Cocaine King' Finally Messes Up After 23 Years

He now faces 30-year sentence in Italy
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2017 2:03 AM CDT
Fugitive 'Cocaine King' Blunders After 23 Years
Aerial view of the villa where Italian mafia fugitive Rocco Morabito lived in the resort town of Punta del Este, Uruguay, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017.   (AP Photo/Marcelo Umpierrez)

A fugitive Italian crime boss is in custody after 23 years on the run following what seems to have been a major slip-up: Authorities in Uruguay say 50-year-old Rocco Morabito, once known as the "cocaine king of Milan," was found after he used his real name to enroll his young daughter in a local school. Authorities say Morabito's use of his real name triggered a six-month investigation that ended with his arrest at a hotel in Uruguay, the Guardian reports. Morabito had apparently been living in the Punta del Este resort area since slipping into the country in 2002 using a fake Brazilian passport with the name Francisco Capeletto.

Authorities say Morabito will be held in Uruguay for at least three months for offenses including using false papers. After that, he is expected to be extradited to Italy, where he has a 30-year prison sentence to serve. His wife, an Angolan national, was also arrested. Morabito was a member of the 'Ndrangheta crime gang, which controls much of the world's cocaine trade, reports the BBC. His lawyer says he has been leading a "normal life" since 1994, though a search of his possessions turned up 13 mobile phones, 12 bank cards, a 9mm pistol, $50,000 in cash, and another fake passport. (Last year, another 'Ndrangheta fugitive was found hiding in a bunker he had built next to his home's bathroom.)

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