An international drug trafficking fugitive with links to the Mafia has been arrested at Rome's airport after flying from Australia, according to reports from Italy.
Antonio Vottari, 31, was apprehended by police at the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino airport on Tuesday after he stepped off a flight from Australia, according to Il Quotidiano and other Italian news reports.
Vottari has been on the run for five years, wanted on drug crimes. He was convicted in his absence and sentenced to seven-and-half years in prison for trafficking cocaine as part of a syndicate operating in South America, Holland, Belgium, Germany and Italy.
The syndicate, Rai News reports, was managed by a notorious San Luca clan of the 'Ndrangheta, the Calabrian Mafia. The clan, which bears the surname of the former fugitive, was led by Bruno Pizzata. Pizzata, known as the king of cocaine, is serving a 30-year prison term for drug trafficking after his arrest in 2011 in Germany.
Italian Mafia experts told Fairfax Media that clans from the same area of Italy have been historically present in Australia, therefore it was "no surprise" he was arrested coming back from Australia.
The Australian Federal Police and the Department of Immigration have been contacted for comment. The Department of Immigration would not comment on whether they were aware Vottari was present in the country. An AFP spokeswoman said it was a matter for Italian authorities.
It is not clear which Australian airport he left from nor how long he had been in the country.
Thanks to Tammy Mills.
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