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Leading Mafia Fugitive Captured in Sicily


June 1993

Italian police captured the Mafia's second in command, Benedetto Santapaola, May 18, only five months after snaring the number one Mafia leader Salvatore Riina (William Drozdiak, "Police Capture Prominent Mafia Leader," Washington Post, 5/19/93, A21).

The 54-year-old Santapaola was known as one of the Mafia's most ruthless assassins and as the mastermind of Mafia involvement in the international drug trade, including recent efforts to build a global alliance with Colombian cocaine cartels. The alliance allegedly involved providing the Colombians with access to the Mafia's drug distribution and money laundering channels in return for a major share of European and American cocaine profits.