A MOST wanted alleged Italian mafioso is back on the run after being accidentally released by a Spanish judge.
Alleged drug lord Vittorio Raso, 41, was set free last week when a judge in Barcelona decreed he could be released on bail until trial.
Raso, believed to be part of the notorious Ndrangheta mafia, had been arrested in the Catalan capital on an Italian arrest warrant for alleged extortion and drug trafficking.
Last Saturday (October 10), the Central Court, headed by judge Alejandro Abascal, received a communique about the suspect saying he was in hospital and that he could not come before the court until Tuesday.
However the documents only detailed the extortion charges, not those of belonging to a mafia and drug trafficking, meaning he was eligible for release.
After testifying on October 13 (last Tuesday), the judge only questioned Raso on the extortion charges before declaring his release until trial.
The shocking decision came despite various reports in the media about the suspect’s arrest and the importance of the case to the Italian authorities.
After being released by the judge, Raso immediately vanished into thin air and has yet to be traced.
According to police, Raso was a high ranking member of the Calabrian mafia, known as a Vangelo.
The criminal group reportedly makes its money through drug and arms trafficking across Europe.
Two hours after being released, a supplementary statement detailing his other more serious alleged crimes arrived at the court.
Authorities were ordered to bring him back immediately but Raso had long disappeared.
It is a crushing blow to a two-year long investigation which began when Raso was first traced to Malaga in October 2018.
A cat-and-mouse game ensued before investigators finally found a lead in Barcelona, where the alleged kingpin was allegedly planning to flee by boat to Brazil, with a truck scheduled to deliver cash and false documentation.
He was found with the fake Italian passport when he was arrested in Barcelona.
The Italians allege Raso, who has been wanted since 2016, was in charge of recuperating loans which had been lended by the ‘Ndrangheta mafia.
He allegedly used threats and violence to collect the loans, which had a monthly interest rate of 10% and ranged between €40-50,000.
Following his arrest, properties linked to Raso were raided in Italy, uncovering €360,000 in cash, more than 13kg of drugs, a pistol, a machine gun and large amounts of ammunition.