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An Italian mafia boss has escaped from prison in Uruguay, where he was awaiting extradition back to Italy.
According to Uruguay's interior ministry, Rocco Morabito, who has the nickname 'cocaine king of Milan', escaped alongside three other inmates.
Morabito was the suspected head of Calabrian 'Ndrangheta - Italy's most powerful organised crime group, which is believed to have controlled as much as 80 percent of Europe's cocaine trade, the BBC reports.
He was arrested in 2017, after living in Uruguay for 13 years using a false name. He had been awaiting extradition on charges of international drug trafficking.
Before he was arrested, he lived in luxury in Uruguay; in a mansion in the Punta del Este, where local residents believed him to be a good neighbour and model citizen, knowing nothing of his past.
When cops eventually arrested Morabito, he was found to have a Brazilian passport in the name of Francisco Attilio Capelletto Souza. He also had 12 credit cards, 13 mobile phones and a 9mm gun.
Speaking at the time of his arrest, his lawyer claimed that Morabito had been 'leading a normal life' since 1994 and hadn't been involved with criminal actitivies.
Police in Uruguay initially charged him with falsifying identify papers, but in September 2017 he was hit with the more serious charges back in Italy.
On Sunday evening 52-year-old Morabito broke out of Central Prison, in Montevideo, by clambering out 'through a hole in the roof of the building'.
He then reportedly robbed the residents of a nearby farmhouse, according to the statement from the ministry.
Cops in the country have now launched an urgent, nationwide appeal for any information on the whereabouts of the former mob boss.
Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said: "It is disconcerting and serious that a criminal like Rocco Morabito, boss of the 'Ndrangheta, managed to escape from a jail in Uruguay while he was waiting to be extradited to Italy.
"I make two commitments. First: to shed light on evasion procedures, asking for immediate explanations from the Montevideo government. Second: we will continue to hunt down Morabito, wherever he is, to throw him in jail as he deserves."
The three other men who escaped were also awaiting extradition to Brazil and Argentina.
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