Top mobster's aides arrested in southern Sicily

CAMPOBELLO DI MAZARA – Emanuele Bonafede, nephew of Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, and his wife Lorena Lanceri have been arrested at their home in Campobello di Mazara following a search of their house, officials said. 

 Good friends of the mafia boss, Emanuele Bonafede and Lorena Lanceri have been arrested on charges of providing Matteo Messina Denaro with “prolonged assistance aimed at satisfying his personal needs and maintaining his state of absconding.” 

 The couple were part of the communication circuit that allowed the ex-fugitive to maintain contact with his family and loyalists. According to the charges, they “conveyed information between Messina Denaro and the people with whom he had particularly intense relations.”

 After Messina Denaro’s arrest following 30 years on the run, Bonafede and Lanceri went to the Carabinieri and told them they had met the fugitive but were unaware of his true identity. They said he had been introduced to them as a retired doctor named Francesco Salsi, with whom the couple had since become friends with. 

 The alleged doctor went to the couple’s house almost every day and his car was often parked in front of the house at 89 Via Mare in Campobello di Mazara. 

 In images, the couple are seen leaving the house in a suspicious manner to check for the presence of any police officers or carabinieri and then give the go-ahead to the guest, who only then, once he was sure there was no danger, left the house. 

 According to judge Alfredo Montalto, having hosted Messina Denaro “continuously and for many days,” allowed the mobster to “maintain the appearance of normal life that has undoubtedly constituted one of the pillars of Messina Denaro’s decades-long ability to hide while remaining active.”