Google Maps helps Italian police arrest mafia boss in Spain

Jan 7, 2022: Italian police have arrested a high-profile mafia fugitive who has been on the run for nearly 20 years with the help of the Google Maps app, an investigator told Reuters on Wednesday.

After two years of investigation, 61-year-old Gioachino Gammino was found in Galapager, Spain, where he lived under a pseudonym. The town is close to the capital, Madrid. An image from a Google Maps street scene showing a man who looked like this in front of a fruit shop was key in triggering an in-depth 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.

Gammino, a member of a Sicilian mafia group called Stidda, escaped from the Ribeia prison in Rome in 2002 and was sentenced in 2003 to life in prison for murder several years earlier. Altero said Gamino is currently in custody in Spain and hopes to bring him back to Italy by the end of February. Reuters was unable to find a Gamino representative to comment.

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