The Italian police arrested mafia boss Pasquale Bonavota (49) at a church in Genoa on Thursday morning. Bonavota and his two brothers are part of the Bonavata clan of the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta. He was a fugitive for almost five years and, according to the authorities, was one of Italy’s most dangerous criminals.
Fake ID card
Bonavota has been wanted since November 2018 after an arrest warrant was issued against him for murder and membership in the mafia. According to local media, Bonavata was arrested Thursday morning in the northern port city of Genoa as he left the city’s cathedral. He had a fake ID in his pocket.
Gambling sector and drug trafficking
According to the judiciary, Pasquale Bonavota ‘represented the interests of the organization in the Rome area and dealt with the gambling sector and drug trafficking’. He is considered to be the mastermind of the Bonavota clan of the ‘Ndrangheta, Italy’s most powerful and wealthiest mafia organization. His two brothers are also part of the clan, which is based in the Sant’Onofrio area of the Calabrian province of Vibo Valentia. The clan is also active around Rome and in the northern regions of Piemonte and Liguria, including Genoa.
Bonavota fled after being sentenced to life in prison by a lower court for two murders, committed in 2014 and 2004, of a lower-ranking member of his clan and a rival boss of a nearby clan. The verdict was overturned in 2021 by an appeals court while the mafia boss was on the run.
Bonavota was the only suspect still on the run after a large-scale raid in 2019 against the Vibo Valentia ‘Ndrangheta that resulted in 334 arrests. The mega trial against more than 300 alleged mafia members and accomplices began in 2021 and is still ongoing.
In January this year, the police also arrested an Italian mafia boss. Matteo Messina Denaro was arrested in Sicily after being a fugitive for 30 years. The 60-year-old leader of the Cosa Nostra was arrested in a private clinic in Palermo, where he had been treated for cancer for more than a year.