The 39-year-old man, considered the brains behind an international drug trafficking ring, had been on the run for the past two years after being sentenced to nearly 17 years in prison in Italy, reported La Tribune de Genève on Monday.
Convicted for trafficking cocaine from Columbia and heroin from Pakistan and Afghanistan, he vanished in October 2015 when under house arrest, which had been granted due to health reasons.
During an investigation lasting several months, Italian authorities discovered that the man lived in the French commune of Veigy-Foncenex and worked over the Swiss border in a pizza restaurant in the Geneva suburb of Carouge.
He was arrested there at around midday on Friday.
Contacted by the paper, the Swiss federal justice office confirmed that the man had been arrested at the request of the Italian authorities, who will likely issue a formal request for extradition.
In the meantime he will be detained at Geneva’s Champ-Dollon prison.
It’s not the first time a member of the Italian mafia has ended up hiding in Switzerland.
All Italian citizens – though two were also naturalized Swiss – they had been living in the cantons of Thurgau, Zurich and Valais.
Based in Calabria in the ‘toe’ of Italy’s south, the ‘Ndrangheta crime organization is considered one of the richest and most powerful in Europe.