Europe 1 with AFP 10:12 a.m., February 4, 2023

In Saint-Étienne, a suspected former member of the Italian mafia was arrested on Thursday, after 16 years on the run.

63-year-old Edgardo Greco pretended to be a pizza maker and was found using facial recognition software used by Interpol.

He had been sentenced to life for two murders committed in 1991.

Italian Edgardo Greco, a suspected member of the Calabrian mafia, the 'Ndrangheta, was arrested Thursday morning in Saint-Etienne, in central-eastern France, after 16 years on the run, Interpol announced.

This sexagenarian sentenced to life imprisonment was arrested by the French police thanks to information from the Italian carabinieri, shared between the two partner countries thanks to the I-Can project (Interpol cooperation against the 'Ndrangheta).

Described as "dangerous" by Interpol

"Great satisfaction for this important operation also carried out thanks to the important synergies developed within the framework of an international network of cooperation between the police forces. The arrests of dangerous fugitives continue", underlined on Twitter the Italian Minister of the Interior. Matteo Piantedosi, commenting on this arrest.

“The activity of law enforcement is unceasing, silently involved day after day, in Italy and abroad, in a continuous work to safeguard the safety of citizens,” he added.

"The strong action of the State against all forms of organized crime" will continue "with determination", he promised.

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Edgardo Greco, 63, worked evenings as a pizza maker in a pizzeria in Saint-Etienne, calling himself Paolo Dimitri - the identity of a criminal from Puglia, according to Italian news agency AGI.

The fugitive was the subject of a European arrest warrant in 2014 from the prosecution of Catanzaro (Calabria, southern Italy) after his life sentence for two murders committed in January 1991 and an attempted murder in July 1991 The fugitive, described as "dangerous" by Interpol, had escaped while in police custody.

He was part of the Perna-Pranno clan at the time, which was the most important in the city of Cosenza, where he lived.

"He is considered jointly responsible for the ambush of January 5, 1991 which cost the lives of brothers Stefano and Giuseppe B. who wanted greater autonomy and consideration among the clans of Cosenza", explains a press release from the Italian carabinieri. .

The victims had been killed "with iron bars in a fish warehouse (...) and their bodies disappeared and were never found", according to the same source.