Latin America & Caribbean

Mafia boss Pasquale Scotti held in Brazil after 30 years on the run

This photo released by Brazil's Federal Police shows Italian Pasquale Scotti, after his arrest in Recife, Brazil, Tuesday, May 26, 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption Pasquale Scotti was arrested while taking his children to school

An Italian organised crime boss convicted for more than 20 murders has been caught in Brazil after 31 years on the run.

Pasquale Scotti - a leading member of the Camorra, a Naples-based mafia-style crime gang - escaped from an Italian hospital in 1984.

He was found in the Brazilian city of Recife, and police said his fingerprints confirmed his identity.

He is now expected to be extradited to Italy in the next few days.

Scotti had evaded police since escaping from hospital, where he was being treated after a shoot-out with police.

Scotti was convicted for extortion, murder and firearms offences committed between 1980 and 1983. In his absence, he received a life sentence, and a warrant for his arrest was issued in Italy in 1991.

However, many reports - based on evidence given by a former Camorra associate of Scotti - said he had died soon after his escape in 1984.

According to Italy's Interior Ministry, Scotti was arrested in Recife in an operation that brought together officers from Naples' police, Italian anti-mafia officers, Brazilian police and Interpol.

Reports in Brazil said Scotti, 56, was held while driving his two children, aged 12 and 15, to school. He was reportedly using the pseudonym Francisco de Castro Visconti, owned a food import company and was a partner in a nightclub.

Brazilian police said Scotti had fake identification and was even registered to vote in Recife.

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