A second hideout used by Italy’s most wanted mobster Matteo Messina Denaro has been discovered at the back of a wardrobe with a sliding base.
Jewelry, gemstones, and silverware were discovered in the hidden chamber, according to Italian police.
Empty paper boxes were also discovered, implying that potentially revealing documents were cleared out following Messina Denaro’s arrest on Monday.
He was undergoing chemotherapy at a private clinic in Sicily.
The Mafia boss was taken to a prison in L’Aquila, in the central Italian region of Abruzzo, where he is said to be receiving cancer treatment.
Messina Denaro declined to appear via videolink at a hearing on the 1992 killings of judges Paolo Falcone and Giovanni Borsellino on Thursday.
The killings are only two of the crimes for which Messina Denaro, a former boss of the powerful Cosa Nostra organized crime group, has been found guilty.
According to Italian media, there are indications that the second hideout – a small chamber barely big enough for one person – was recently inhabited.
The bunker is located in a house about 300 meters from the Mafia boss’s first hideout in the Sicilian town of Campobello di Mazara.
Car keys found in the bag Messina Denaro was carrying at the time of his arrest led investigators to that first location. Police raided the location on Monday afternoon and found a 60sq m ground floor flat, which was described as “comfortable”.
Italian media said that luxury perfumes, expensive furniture and designer clothes were found at the location, as well two cell phones and Viagra pills.
Police had been hunting the mafia chief for three decades when he was caught on Monday. He had made the appointment at the clinic under a false name.
When police discovered the alias, Andrea Bonafede, they became suspicious because it was the name of deceased Mafia boss Leonardo Bonafede’s nephew.
Phone mapping revealed that the real Bonafede’s phone was not in Palermo in 2020 and 2021, when a man with the same name underwent surgery there.
Messina Denaro oversaw racketeering, illegal waste dumping, money laundering, and drug trafficking while at the helm of the Cosa Nostra crime syndicate.
In 2002, he was convicted in absentia of a series of murders.
Details about Messina Denaro’s life before his arrest are beginning to emerge.
He was living in Campobello di Mazara, 116 kilometers (72 miles) from Palermo and only 8 kilometers from his birthplace of Castelvetrano.
A neighbor told Italian television that he saw the man frequently and that they would greet each other on a regular basis.