Say What: The Cocaine King of Milan is on the lam once again.
When some news stories break, you’re often left wondering whether it’s real life, or a TV show summary. Today, it felt like we were a part of Prison Break.
In the business of the news - and reimagining journalism - we often have to take a step back and say… what?! Today was one of those days.
Get this - a 53 year old Italian Mafia boss, infamously called The Cocaine King of Milan, just escaped from a prison in Uruguay through a hole in the roof. Here’s the bright side - when they make the next season of Narcos based on this, it’s going to be the coolest thing ever. Here’s the not-so-bright side - This modern day Godfather, Rocco Morabito, is a part of an organised crime unit that happens to be one of the biggest importers of cocaine in Europe, and is Italy’s most powerful Mafia family.
Here’s some more Narcos-esque backstory: Until he was arrested, he had been living in Uruguay under a false name for 13 years, with a Brazilian passport, in a luxurious mansion, at a high-end neighbourhood, where he was a highly esteemed member of society. Under the name of Francisco Capeletto, he was seen as an ideal contributor to society, with a life dedicated to his work in the soybean business and real estate. In reality, until his arrest, Morabito was the boss of one of the most nefarious crime families of Italy - the ‘Ndrangheta. He’s been wanted since 1994, but has managed to consistently evade the police. First wanted for regularly delivering suitcases filled with cash to drug traffickers in Milan, he then gained notoriety for his quick ascension through the crime family ranks.
Here’s another odd little detail - at the time of his arrest in 2017, his house was searched and authorities uncovered the following - 13 cell phone, 12 credit cards, jewels, about $50000 in cash, a 9mm pistol, two cars, a Portugese passport, and here’s the best part - about 150 passport sized photos of Morabito in different disguises.
At the time of his escape, Morabito was awaiting extradition to Italy. The Italian authorities are now holding the Montevideo government responsible for this comically horrendous international security gaffe.
"It is disconcerting and serious that a criminal like Rocco Morabito, boss of the 'Ndrangheta, managed to escape from a jail in Uruguay while he was waiting to be extradited to Italy," Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini told Reuters. "I make two commitments, First: to shed light on evasion procedures, asking for immediate explanations from the Montevideo government. Second: we will continue to hunt down Morabito, wherever he is, to throw him in jail as he deserves."
All we can say is, we can’t wait until this whole story turns into the next series of Narcos. Until then - keep an eye out for anyone named Morabito. Or Capeletto. Or anyone with a funny disguise in a passport sized photo.