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01 April 2012 - Media release

INTERPOL praises capture of mafia boss in Thailand

Convicted Italian fugitive was subject of INTERPOL Red Notice requested by Italy


LYON, France – The detention in Bangkok of a man wanted in Italy for mafia-related criminal conspiracy and the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice for internationally-wanted persons has been praised by INTERPOL Chief Ronald K. Noble as an example of effective international police cooperation.

Vito Roberto Palazzolo, aged 64, was stopped by the Royal Thai police on Friday 30 March at Bangkok airport. He was sentenced by a court in Italy in 2009 to nine years in jail for criminal association as a prominent member of the Cosa Nostra Sicilian mafia for whom he had been accused of laundering money from the proceeds of drug trafficking and cigarette smuggling, and for closely associating with the undisputed leaders of the criminal organization.

The convicted mafia fugitive was taken into custody at Bangkok airport by officers from Thailand's Bureau of Immigration, working in collaboration with INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in Bangkok, as well as with the Foreign Affairs and Tourist Police divisions of the Royal Thai Police, with the assistance of INTERPOL’s liaison office in Bangkok.

INTERPOL’s Fugitive Investigative Support (FIS) unit at its General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon has been closely coordinating with INTERPOL’s NCB in Rome and its liaison office in Bangkok, in collaboration with Italian police services and case Prosecutor, as part of initiatives to locate Palazzolo in the Asian region where a previous travel entry by the fugitive was recently detected.

Secretary General Noble praised the authorities in Italy and Thailand for their continued commitment to cross-border law enforcement, which he said was exemplified by Palazzolo’s arrest.

“The capture of this convicted mafia fugitive highlights the very real and valuable results which can be achieved by INTERPOL member countries working together, especially when supported by INTERPOL global policing tools such as Red Notices,” said Secretary General Noble.

“Palazzolo’s arrest will I am sure encourage all INTERPOL member countries to renew their commitment to transnational police cooperation through the INTERPOL community, so that justice can run its course,” concluded Mr Noble.

A Red Notice represents one of INTERPOL’s most powerful tools in tracking international fugitives. Containing identification details and judicial information about a wanted person, a Red Notice seeks the location, the apprehension and the provisional arrest of a wanted person, and is circulated to police in all of INTERPOL’s 190 member countries.