ROME—A hit man for the notorious Calabrian ’Ndrangheta mafia has been arrested working in a pizzeria in France after nearly 17 years on the run. Edgardo Greco, 63, was taken into custody on Thursday in the French hamlet of Saint-Etienne, where he had risen to fame as an “authentic Italian pizza maker” using the fake name Paolo Dimitrio.
The arrest, supported by Interpol, was hailed in Italy as another anti-mafia success after the capture in January of Sicilian Cosa Nostra mob boss Matteo Messina Denaro, who had been on the run for 30 years. Greco denied his identity and was taken forcibly into custody, unlike Denaro, who admitted his name when he was approached at a cancer clinic in Palermo on Jan. 16.
Greco was convicted in absentia in the late 1990s for the murder of Stefano and Giuseppe Bartolomeo, who were brothers from a rival Calabrese gang that he is said to have beaten to death with a crowbar and then dissolved their bodies in acid. He was also accused of the attempted murder of another mobster, Emiliano Mosciarat, and several prison guards, earning him the dubious nickname “prison killer.”
His arrest came after he was featured under his alias name for his pizza-making acumen in a local French newspaper in 2019. His alias is the name of an infamous mobster from Puglia, which is thought to have been the break that led anti-mafia police in Italy to his trail after prosecutor Nicola Gratteri investigated the resurgence of the Puglia mobster’s name.
Greco’s arrest was carried out with the support of Interpol’s I-CAN unit that works to share information about operations of the Calabria ’Ndrangheta crime syndicate’s reach in Europe. Once his alias and hidden identity were corroborated, undercover agents reportedly visited the pizzeria to obtain DNA evidence to confirm his identity.
“No matter how hard fugitives try to slip into a quiet life abroad, they cannot evade justice forever,” Interpol secretary general Jurgen Stock said in a statement. “Dedicated officers around the world will always ensure that justice is served.”
The ’Ndrangheta is considered one of the world’s most prolific and deadly criminal groups, operating on every continent and heavily tied to the cocaine trade between Europe and South America.