Notorious Italian criminal Graziano Mesina was arrested in Sardinia on Saturday. A special police team arrested the 79-year-old man, who spent much of his life in prison, in the village of Desulo, Italy.
The criminal, respected and feared on the island, managed to escape from prisons or hospitals several times. Last year, he was sentenced by the highest Italian court to 24 years in prison for drug smuggling. But before the execution of the sentence, he managed to escape.
Mesina led a gang of kidnappers in the 1960s and 1970s. Many Sardinians sympathized with the allegedly anti-capitalist motives of the group, which kidnapped industrialists and politicians, among others.
cut off ear
His influence on the island was so great that in 1992 he was called in to mediate in the release of a kidnapped boy. That case received a lot of attention, partly because the kidnappers cut off a piece of the ear of the 7-year-old boy to back their demands for millions in ransom. The son of a hotel manager was released only after 177 days. The exact role of Mesina has never been clarified.
Then-President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi pardoned Mesina in 2004. That was revoked after he was arrested for drug smuggling in 2013.