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Jailed Boss of Italy’s Palermo Mob Caught on His Return to Italy

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The fugitive Mafia boss Massimo Maestri, whose escape triggered a manhunt by Italian and Spanish police, has returned to Italy to face trial, one month after authorities secured the return of a kidnapped gangland victim and his rescue.

Arrested in Madrid on Oct. 3, Maestri returned to Italy on Tuesday, the Spanish prosecutors’ office said. His flight took him through the Sicilian port of Palermo on the way to Bologna. Maestri has previously served as the boss of the Giglio crime clan in Palermo.

Maestri, 55, escaped from prison on Oct. 2. By then, the head of the Palermo mobster family, Fabrizio Giussani, had also escaped prison with his son.

Police quickly raised Maestri’s reward to 10 million euros, although he is thought to be richer than that.

Grief-stricken Palermo families formed vigilante groups and warned Maestri to leave Palermo. Some even accused the mayor, Emilio Di Stefano, of colluding with the crime lord.

A local court turned down the charges. Maestri continued to evade arrest. Finally, police from both Palermo and Madrid requested that he be handed over.

Authorities have taken other measures to chase down the crime lord, who has multiple criminal convictions and a record of fleeing from prison. He has lived in Lebanon, Turkey, and, most recently, in Madrid. In each of these countries, he became a fugitive. In recent years, many Italians were caught selling drugs in Spain.

In December, Maestri sold the drug he trafficked in Italy, moving thousands of euros out of the country before he fled to Spain.

Last month, it emerged that he was involved in another daring escape, transporting another colleague and a bodyguard with him across the sea on Dec. 10, 2017.

Maestri is scheduled to appear in Palermo court on Friday to face the charges related to his escape.

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