Spanish Police Capture Stidda Mafia Member, Ending 19-Year Manhunt

Published: 23 December 2021

Spanish Police PicSpanish police reported on Friday that they detained a fugitive connected to murder and drug trafficking, thereby ending the 19-year manhunt for mafiosi’s rearrest. (Photo: Contando Estrelas, Flickr, License)

By Henry Pope

Spanish police reported on Friday that they detained a fugitive connected to murder and drug trafficking, thereby ending the 19-year manhunt for mafiosi’s rearrest.

The unnamed fugitive, whom authorities refer to only as “G.G.”, managed to escape from a Rome prison in 2002 after being convicted for murder in 1989.

Though G.G. was detained for murder the same year, the evidence of his crimes reportedly dates back to the 1980s.

The charges against G.G. included drug trafficking and collaborating with La Cosa Nostra, also known as the Sicilian Mafia.

Following his arrest for murder, G.G. was convicted along with fellow members of the Stidda (Sicilian for “star”) organization, which primarily operates on the island of Sicily.

Reportedly, a war broke out between Stidda and other mafia families for the dominion of the Sicilian territory shortly after the murder in question.

His escape from incarceration in Rome in 2002 started an international manhunt; Spain’s Drugs and Organized Crime Unit joined in on the investigation to track G.G. down in 2017.

Together, international authorities tracked his trail to Germany; then to Barcelona, where he is known to have relatives; before he moved on to the Spanish town of Palma de Mallorca and then Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

In collaboration with Italy’s Anti-Mafia Investigative Directorate, Spanish authorities were finally able to catch up to G.G. in Galapagar, a town in the municipality of Madrid.

Spain’s involvement in the manhunt was carried out within the framework of the ENFAST network, known as the European Network of Fugitive Active Search Teams.

The ENFAST network is comprised of police officers from all EU member states as well as other nations such as the United States, Switzerland, and Norway.

Agents assigned to the network ensure that they can respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to take immediate action to locate and arrest wanted fugitives.

According to Spanish authorities, G.G. was amongst the accused in the Maxi Trial (Maxiprocesso in Italian), in which of the 475 suspected mafiosi brought before the court in Sicily in a specially prepared bunker, 338 were sentenced to a total of 2,665 years in prison.

The trial, which is considered the most significant in history against the Sicilian Mafia, saw 19 bosses receive life sentences and was the first time that the court officially recognized the existence of La Cosa Nostra.

In defiance of the trial, the Mafia struck back, targeting several judges and magistrates.

One such judge who died at the hands of the Stidda was Rosario Livatino, who was gunned down in 1990 as a result of his fight against corruption and senior mafia crime figures.

A devout Catholic, his murder was said to have been done “in hatred of the faith,” according to the Vatican.

The Catholic Church beatified Livatino in May earlier this year, with Pope Francis recognizing “his service to the community as an upstanding judge, who never allowed himself to become corrupt,” and praised him as the “martyr for justice and faith.”

“May his example be for everyone, especially for judges, an incentive to be loyal defenders of lawfulness and freedom,” Pope Francis said.