A trivial street photograph led to the arrest of one of Italy’s most wanted gangsters. Tracked down by police for twenty years, a former Italian mafia boss has been arrested in Galapagar, Spain, thanks to a snapshot taken on Google Street View.
Gioacchino Gammino, 61, has been under international arrest since 2014. Google on which he can be seen chatting with another man in front of a fruit and vegetable store named “El Huerto de Manu” (meaning “Manu’s vegetable garden”, in French).
It is by making a comparison with another photo taken in a nearby restaurant, called “la Cocina de Manu” (translating as “the kitchen of Manu”) and on which the Mafiosi had been formally identified dressed in a costume of Chief, that the police had been snapped up.
A doubt quickly turned into certainty when officers recognized in both photos a Gammino scar on the left side of his chin.
He had changed his name and his life
Arrested on December 17, 2021, Gioacchino Gammino had an atypical career, as evidenced by the investigation conducted by the Italian newspaper The Republic. Over the years, the man had completely changed his life: in Spain he had changed his name to Manuel and found a job as a chef and owner of a fruit and vegetable store.
“There have been many previous and long inquiries which have taken us to Spain. We were on the right track, Google Maps and Street View helping to confirm our investigations ”, explained the prosecutor of Parma Francesco Lo Voi, in an interview with the British daily The Guardian.
A prison break in 2002
The full story of the accused is bizarre. Belonging to a mafia clan in the Sicilian city of Agrigento, Gioacchino Gammino was first arrested in 1984 by anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone, who was eventually killed in a 1992 car crash.
Targeted by the police for crimes committed in connection with his activity, he was arrested and imprisoned in Barcelona in 1998. Transferred to Rome where he was serving a life sentence, Gioacchino Gammino had managed to escape from prison of Rebibia during the shooting of a film in the penitentiary in 2002 to return to Spain where he has lived ever since.