France - Italy

Camorra godfather arrested in French Riviera café

The heavily fortified court house in Naples
The heavily fortified court house in Naples AFP

A Naples Mafia chief has been arrested while driking coffee in a café in the French Riviera city of Nice. Camorra crime lord Antonio Lo Russo was one of Italy's 100 most wanted criminals and subject to a European arrest warrant.

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French police needed "several weeks' work" to prepare Lo Russo's arrest, according to Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, but, when police from Nice, Marseille, Montpellier and Naples finally nabbed him, he was calmly sipping coffee in a Nice café.

Cazeneuve congratulated them on a "severe blow to organised crime".

The mafioso's cousin, Carlo Lo Russo, being sought for attempted murder, was also arrested and a third man, who has not been named, was taken in for questioning as a witness.

Antonio Lo Russo has been on the run for four years and has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for gangsterism, mafia links and drug trafficking.

He is believed to be the current boss of the most powerful gang on the Neapolitan Camorra, which is suspected of involvement in extortion, illegal gaming, drug trafficking and murder and believed to be involved in gang warfare in Scampia, a poor area of the city, for control of the drug trade.

Antonio and Carlo Lo Russo appeared before a court in Aix-en-Provence on Wednesday ahead of a hearing on Thursday to rule on handing Lo Russo over to the Italian authorities.

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