Uruguay has agreed to extradite a notorious drug trader known as the ‘cocaine king of Milan’ back to Italy.
Rocco Morabito was arrested last year in the Uruguayan resort town of Punta del Este, where he had been living under a false identity for about a decade.
The suspected head of the ‘Ndrangheta crime gang has been one of Italy’s most wanted fugitives since 1995, says a BBC report.
His lawyer says he will appeal against the extradition order.
The judge, a specialist in organised crime, approved the extradition earlier in the week, and the Uruguayan press received its confirmation on Friday.
Uruguay’s El País newspaper reports that he was extradited on the basis of prior convictions for links to organised crime and drug trafficking - issued in absentia - rather than for a new trial.
Morabito’s lawyer told the newspaper he plans to appeal the ruling on the basis that the extradition treaty between the two countries does not cover convictions issued in absentia.
The ‘Ndrangheta gang controls about 80% of Europe’s cocaine trade. Police say Morabito was behind the smuggling of hundreds of kilos of cocaine from Brazil to Italy.
He was arrested last September while staying in a hotel in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, where he had gone after having a fight with his wife.
A search of his villa in Punta del Este uncovered a firearm, 13 mobile phones, and 150 passport-sized photos of Morabito in different guises.