Italian Mafia boss Salvatore Bonomolo arrested in Venezuela


A gavel rests on top of a desk in the courtroom of the Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum in Miami. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Joe Raedle

Italian Mafia boss Salvatore Bonomolo was arrested Monday while shopping on the tourist island of Margarita, off the coast of Venezuela.

Bonomolo, 47, was apprehended in a mall in the town of Porlamar following an operation carried out jointly by Italian police, Interpol and Venezuelan authorities, according to the International Business Times. He was hiding under the false name of Angelo Garofalo and pretended to be an Italian tourist when arrested, until his fingerprints betrayed him.

Italian police said Bonomolo had been wanted in his country since 2007, where he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years and 4 months in prison for extortion and Mafia association, reported the Associated Press. He is alleged to be a boss of the Porta Nuova crime group in Palermo.

Having started his career as a "pizzo" collector, Bonomolo quickly climbed the ranks of his gang's hierarchies, according to the Times. Prior to his arrest, he was believed to run the group's South American drug business.

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The AP reported that investigators tracked him down by following the movement of money his family sent to him from Italy and by intercepting phone calls from his relatives.

"[The arrest] shows that there are no impunity heavens and that phone tapping practices are essential to police investigations," said state prosecutor Antonio Ingroia, who led the investigation, according to the Times.

Bonomolo is now in custody in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas where he is awaiting extradition to Italy.