- The Washington Times - Friday, March 13, 2009

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS (AP) - Dutch police have arrested an Italian man wanted for the 2007 mob killings of six people in the western German city of Duisburg, prosecutors said Friday.

Giovanni Strangio was arrested late Thursday in a joint operation by German, Italian and Dutch police. He was holed up with his wife and child in an apartment in Diemen, just outside Amsterdam.

Police found a gun and ammunition in the apartment, but Strangio did not resist arrest, said Renato Cortese, a police official in Italy’s Calabria region.

Strangio, 30, is accused of shooting six Italians outside a Duisburg restaurant on Aug. 15, 2007.

“Since then he has been one of the most-wanted men in Germany and Italy,” the Dutch National Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.

The bloody crime stemmed from a feud between two rival families and drew international attention to the ‘ndrangheta, a crime syndicate based in the southern Italian region of Calabria.

Some investigators say the ‘ndrangheta is now more powerful than the Sicilian Mafia.

The Dutch prosecutors office said another Italian was arrested along with Strangio. Cortese identified him as Strangio’s brother-in-law, Francesco Romeo.

Duisburg chief detective Holger Haufmann said a stash of money that appeared to be more than euro1 million (US$1.3 million) was found in Strangio’s apartment when he was arrested.

Both men will appear before an investigating judge in Amsterdam in a closed sitting on Monday as the first step toward their extradition, said prosecution spokesman Wim de Bruin. It is not yet clear where Strangio will be sent.

“Both Germany and Italy have asked for his extradition,” he said. “The court in Amsterdam is handling the case now.”

Strangio has been a fugitive since the Duisburg slayings, and Romeo, 41, has been on the run since 1997. He is accused of criminal association and drug trafficking.

Prosecutors said Strangio kept a low profile in the Dutch city where he was hiding from justice.

“The fugitive Italian only occasionally went outside and always in disguise,” prosecutors said, indicating they may have had him under observation for some time.

Amsterdam appears popular as a hiding place for wanted Italian mob suspects.

In November Giuseppe Nirta, the reported head of the Nirta crime clan, was arrested in the city after 10 years on the run.

Nirta was wanted for evading a 14-year prison sentence on an Italian drug trafficking conviction and has since been extradited to Italy.

The Nirta clan, of San Luca, has been involved for years in a bloody turf war among ‘ndrangheta crime syndicate families.


Associated Press writers Alessandra Rizzo in Rome and David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report.

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