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Russians Detained in Uruguay Over Mafia Boss Escape

Giorgio Montersino / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Two to three Russians have been arrested in Uruguay on suspicion of aiding the escape of a notorious Italian mob boss in the South American country, according to media reports.

Rocco Morabito, dubbed the “cocaine king of Milan,” escaped from a Montevideo jail last month as he was waiting to be extradited back to Italy after two years of imprisonment. Morabito, 52, had been the most wanted fugitive member of the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta, Italy's most powerful organized crime group and one of Europe's biggest importers of South American cocaine.

Authorities in Uruguay and Interpol detained three foreign nationals on suspicion of aiding and abetting Morabito’s escape, the Montevideo Portal and Ecos news websites reported Wednesday.

The Russian Embassy in Montevideo told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency on Thursday that three unnamed Russian nationals had been detained in Uruguay.

“We don’t know why they were detained,” embassy spokeswoman Vasilisa Fofanova said.

Morabito was not found in the reported raid on a pizza shop in Montevideo’s Solano Garcia district and remains at large.

Other local outlets said two Russians and one Italian had been arrested in connection with Morabito’s escape.

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

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