POLICE tracked down one of Italy’s most notorious mobsters who had been on Europol’s wanted list for 20 years after he was spotted on an image on Google Maps outside a shop in Spain.
Gioacchino Gammino, who was a member of the Sicilian Stidda mafia clan was jailed for crimes including murder and drug trafficking, escaped from an Italian prison two decades ago and fled to Barcelona where he changed his name to Manuel.
But several years ago he relocated to Galapagar, a commuter town northwest of Madrid where he ran several stores, with false identities, including a pizzeria, a bar, a hairdresser and finally a greengrocer.
It was here, as Gammino, now 61, was standing outside El Huerto de Manu – Manu’s Allotment – overseeing a delivery of fruit and vegetables, that he was captured by Google Street View.
The image was spotted by an Italian detective who for years had been on the lookout for Gammino and his suspicions were confirmed when he cross checked the image against clearer pictures from a website promoting the neighbouring business, La Cocina de Manu – Manu’s Kitchen.
Although the restaurant has been closed for several years, detectives found a picture of the chef who was clearly identifiable as the fugitive, thanks in part to a distinctive scar on his chin.
Police moved in on the suspect on December 17 and according to Italian media, he was stunned to be discovered.
“How did you find me? I haven’t even phoned my family for the last 10 years,” he reportedly asked police when they arrested him according to Italian media reports.
It has since emerged that he had his own brush with the law in Spain when he was accused in 2018 of attacking the local mayor Angel Camacho from the Popular Party who Gammino blamed for closing his business.
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