Billionaire Italian mafia boss arrested in Spain

Giuseppe Polverino pictured today after his arrest

An Italian mafia boss who controlled a $1.3 billion business empire and a major drug smuggling route between Spain and Italy has been arrested in Spain, Italian police said on Wednesday.

Giuseppe Polverino, who has been on the run since 2006, was arrested in Jerez de la Frontera near the port of Cadiz in southwest Spain in a joint operation by Spain’s Guardia Civil and Italy’s Carabinieri, a spokesman said.

“He was arrested yesterday evening. He showed a fake ID but we identified him from his fingerprints,” said the Carabinieri spokesman in Naples.

The Polverino crime family is based in suburbs north of Naples but its reach extends into legitimate businesses in northern Italy and Spain.

In May 2011, Italian police seized clan assets worth in excess of a billion euros including construction companies, luxury villas and cars, vast tracts of land, shell companies, bank accounts and even butchers and bakeries.

But the Carabinieri spokesman said the clan’s main source of revenue was “hashish smuggling from Spain to Italy: they controlled the business.”

Polverino fled from parole in 2006 following his latest stint in prison.


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