British police have arrested a reputed Sicilian Mafia boss who had been a fugitive from Italian justice for almost twenty years. Domenico Rancadore, 64, was reportedly operating a travel agency in London and married to a British woman before Metropolitan Police caught up with him on Wednesday at his home in Uxbridge, West London.
Italian authorities claim Rancadore headed a crime family that was engaged in drug trafficking, extortion and racketeering. "Rancadore ran a travel agency in the British capital and led a comfortable life. Several cooperating witnesses have referred to him as a leading member of the Palermo Mafia 'family', with a senior managerial role in the Caccamo 'commandment',” said a statement from the Italian Interior Ministry. "In particular, in the 1990s, he played the role of chief of the Cosa Nostra in Trabia, Palermo.”
Rancadore was sentenced in absentia to seven years in prison by an Italian court for crimes committed between December 1987 and April 1995. A European Arrest Warrant was not issued for him until January 2012.
Angelino Alfano, Italy's interior minister and deputy prime minister. boasted that "we are putting another fugitive mafia boss behind bars,” and expressed "deep gratitude" to the British and Italian police investigators for Rancadore’s capture. “Applause and thanks to all the law enforcement agencies for having brought to justice one of the most dangerous fugitives still in circulation,” added deputy interior minister Philip Bubbico. "It was a brilliant operation, accomplished thanks to the hard work of the police and judiciary, and the international co-operation given by Interpol. Today has allowed us to take another important step in the battle against the Mafia and organized crime."
Rancadore is expected to appear before a judge in Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday. A woman who was a neighbor of Rancadore said she knew him under a different name, ‘‘Marc Skinner,’ and that his family, including two children, had lived on Manor Waye in Uxbridge for several years. "I know him very well and he's one of the best neighbors you could ever have," Joan Hills, 76, told British media. "I've seen [their] children grow up with my children. I don't know the ins and outs of this, but they are the nicest people that you could wish to meet." Rancadore’s British wife is believed to be named Ann and is reportedly the daughter of a former Italian consul to London. Their two children are believed to be in their 30s and were both born in the United Kingdom.
Rancadore went on the run sometime in 1994, shortly after the arrest of the top mafia boss in Sicily, Salvatore ‘Toto’ Riina, and only two years after the historic assassinations of anti-Mafia prosecutor. Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. The Independent newspaper reported that two prominent ex-Mafiosi informers, Gaetano Lima and Salvatore Barbagallo, described Rancadore as a “dangerous” mobster with links to both London and the Tenerife islands. Informants revealed to authorities in Italy that Rancadore was running his Mafia business in London, while receiving an Italian public pension.