Europe

Italy mafia fugitive found hiding in secret room in own home

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Media captionPolice video shows fugitive mafia boss hiding in a secret compartment in his own home

A fugitive mafia boss has been found hiding in a secret compartment in his own home after five years on the run, Italian police say.

It took agents several hours to dislodge Antonio Pelle, 54, from his hideout between a bedroom and a bathroom, before arresting him.

Pelle, known as "Mamma", was first held in 2008 but escaped three years later when he was sent to hospital.

He faces 20 years in jail if convicted for drugs and arms smuggling.

"Fifty of us searched the two-storey villa where Pelle had always lived [prior to becoming a fugitive], but it took a very attentive eye to discover his hiding place," police commander Francesco Ratta was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The room contained a mattress, a fan, some bottles of water and cash. It is not clear how long he had been staying there for.

Pelle is said to be head of a leading crime family, whose feud with a rival clan left six people dead in a restaurant in Duisburg, Germany, in 2007.

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