BENESTARE, ITALY (Reuters) - Italian police on Wednesday (Oct 5) said they had captured a fugitive Calabrian mafia boss hiding in a secret room in his own home after he escaped from the clutches of the law five years ago.
The 54-year-old boss, Antonio Pelle, was on the Interior Ministry's list of the country's most-dangerous fugitives.
He faces a 20-year sentence for drug and arms smuggling, and for being a member of a mafia clan.
A police video of the arrest shows Pelle's head peek out from the top of a large wardrobe at his home in Benestare. As he talks to police, he climbs down and is handcuffed.
Police commander Francesco Ratta said that 50 officers searched the two-storey villa where Pelle had always lived, but it took a very attentive eye to discover his hiding place.
The niche built behind the wardrobe contained a mattress, a fan, some bottles of water and some cash, the video shows.
First arrested and jailed in 2008, three years later he slipped away from a hospital where he had been receiving medical treatment.
Prosecutors said he was the acting head of the Pelle-Vottari crime family, of which six members were murdered in Duisburg, Germany, in 2007 as part of an ongoing feud with a rival clan from the town of San Luca.