3 Nov, 2022 @ 17:15
1 min read

EXCLUSIVE: Sneaky tactic police used to arrest alleged Italian mafia gang leader on Spain’s Costa del Sol

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After 10 years chasing an allegedly notorious Italian mafia boss Spanish police have revealed how they finally caught him, and it’s not what you’d expect.

Police used a bicycle from a person selling fake designer brands on the beach to catch an alleged ‘dangerous’ Italian mafia gang leader on the Costa del Sol.  

The man, which the Olive Press can now reveal as Mario Palamara, was strictly moving around the Costa on bicycles instead of cars, to avoid being stopped by police at road checks, according to Policia Nacional.

Last month, an undercover officer asked a man on a beach near Fuengirola if they could borrow their bicycle.

It was part of a plot to finally catch the man they had been chasing for nearly 10 years.

“When we caught him we had an officer not in uniform on a bicycle ready to go after him,” a Policia Nacional source told the Olive Press.

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Undercover police arrested Palamara outside his home in Fuengirola. Photo: Policia Nacional

Palamara, 53, was casually leaving his Fuengirola home on the morning of October 14 when the dramatic arrest happened. 

He is allegedly part of the Calabrian Ndrangheta mafia, and had been on the run from Italian authorities since 2015. 

“He was a very dangerous member of the mafia,” the police said. 

He had four European arrest and extradition orders against him for drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption and forgery of documents. 

Policia Nacional said Palamara was the main leader of a mafia operation that involved shipments of cocaine from Colombia to Italy. 

Through his contacts in South America, he allegedly personally managed the operation, making him a “point of reference” for all the groups of the Calabrian mafia that operated in the southern province of Reggio-Calabria.   

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Palamara is accused of serious mafia crimes. Photo: Policia Nacional

He had allegedly gained the trust of one of the most notorious clans within the Italian mafia, the Morabito gang, who trusted him to contact cocaine suppliers and prepare shipments of the drug to Europe through maritime containers, also using air shipments.

Policia Nacional also said the operation could be linked to the seizure of 800 kilograms of cocaine in Italy during past police operations. 

Investigators first located the man in Barcelona, but he was later verified to be living in Fuengirola. 

“At the time of arrest the fugitive offered great resistance, identifying himself with a false Italian identity,” Policia Nacional said in a statement at the time. 

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