A THREE-YEAR manhunt has come to a close after police detained a fugitive member of the notorious N’Drangheta mafia in Barcelona.
Gianluca Tassone, 42, from Vibo Valentia in Calabria, fled Italy in 2017 after being sentenced to 19 years in prison for crimes related to international drug trafficking, as well as membership of an organised crime group.
He was detained on September 5 after a major operation involving the Guardia Civil, who went public with the arrest on Sunday.
According to authorities the man had been living near Plaza Universitat, in the bustling downtown area of the Catalan capital.
He is understood to have been living under-the-radar in the city for a number of years.
The Guardia Civil explained how “he took precautions to evade capture which included not speaking to neighbours, and taking anti-surveillance measures to avoid detection.”
Spain has become an attractive destination for Italian mafia members seeking to evade justice, said the Guardia Civil in a statement.
“They lead a discreet life, without great luxuries that could attract attention, in order to dedicate themselves to crime, but in more managerial roles, delegating street level activities to more junior members of the organization “.
Tassone is in custody awaiting extradition to Italy where he must serve at least 19-years in prison for crimes relating to international drug trafficking and membership of an organised crime organisation.
The operation is the latest in a string of high level arrests of Italian mafia members in Barcelona, and comes just weeks after 34-year-old Gennaro Esposito, a member of the Mazzarella mafia clan, was detained in the city after evading Italian authorities for a year.
He was wanted for extortion and criminal association.
In March authorities detained Giuseppe Romeo, another high profile member of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia, in Barcelona. He is thought to be one of the clans’ most dangerous and infamous members.
He has now been repatriated to Italy to serve a 20-year-sentence for drug trafficking, money laundering and membership of a prescribed criminal organisation.