Italian police caught mafia fugitive in Spain with help of Google Street View

During a two-year investigation, a picture on Google Maps was key in finding a mafia fugitive in Spain.

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With the help of Google Street View, Italian police found a picture that was key in the investigation and arrest of a Mafia fugitive in Spain | © Illustration, Brett Jordan

On January 5, an investigator told Reuters that Gioacchino Gammino was caught by Italian police after a two-year investigation thanks to the help of Google Maps.

Gioacchino Gammino, 61, is a prominent mafia fugitive who had been on the run for nearly 20 years. Gammino is a member Stidda, a criminal organization from the south of Sicily.

He was tracked down in Galapagar, a town of 35,000 people near Madrid in Spain, where he lived under a fake name.

A Google Maps street view picture portrayed a man who looked like him in front of a fruit shop. It was key in triggering a deeper investigation.

The photogram helped us to confirm the investigation we were developing in traditional ways“, Nicola Altiero, deputy director of the Italian anti-mafia police unit (DIA), said.

Altiero said Gammino is currently under custody in Spain and they hope to bring him back to Italy by the end of February.

He had escaped jail in 2002 and in 2003. He had been sentenced to life imprisonment for a murder committed several years earlier.

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