MONTEVIDEO – The boss of the Ndrangheta, an organized crime group based in Calabria, Italy, and three other foreign inmates escaped early Monday from a prison in Uruguay’s capital, officials said.
Rocco Morabito and the other inmates got out of the prison in Montevideo around midnight, making their way over the roof, the Interior Ministry’s Communications Unit (Unicom) said in a statement.
The Italian gangster and the other three men broke into a nearby home and stole money from the owner.
Morabito, who is the subject of an extradition request from Italy, was accompanied in the escape by Leonardo Abel Sinopoli Azcoaga, who was arrested on counterfeiting and other charges on a warrant issued by judicial officials in Brazil.
Matias Sebastian Acosta Gonzalez, who is awaiting extradition to Brazil, and Bruno Ezequiel Diaz, who is awaiting extradition to Argentina, where he is wanted for murder, also escaped.
Morabito, known as “the cocaine king of Milan,” has been sought by judicial authorities for 23 years and was one of the five most-wanted men in Italy.
On Sept. 4, 2017, the 52-year-old Morabito was arrested in Uruguay, where he had lived for more than a decade.
The mobster, who was convicted on criminal conspiracy, drug and other charges, faces more than 30 years in prison in Italy.
Morabito smuggled cocaine from South America into northern Italy, investigators said.
At the time of his arrest, the boss of the Ndrangheta was staying at a hotel in Montevideo.
The mobster owned a mansion in the resort city of Punta del Este, where police found 12 credit cards, 13 cell phones, several checks for large sums of money and firearms.
Morabito had a Brazilian passport and lived under the assumed name of Francesco Antonio Capeletto Souza.