Wanted Mafia Hitman Found Living His Best Life as a Pizza Chef in France

Police caught Calabrian mafia member Edgardo Greco, who killed two men and dissolved them in acid three decades ago, making pizzas near Lyon.
Edgardo Greco interpol
Edgardo Greco. Photo: Interpol

An Italian man convicted of beating two mafia rivals to death with a crowbar in a Calabrian fish restaurant more than 30 years ago was arrested by French police Thursday after investigators discovered he was working as a pizza chef in an Italian restaurant in the French Alps region.

Edgardo Greco, 63, disappeared from police custody more than 16 years ago after his conviction in 1991 for the brutal double murder of two brothers from a rival clan in the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta, the most powerful organised crime group in Italy. The victims’ bodies were never recovered as Greco is believed to have disposed of them using acid. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2006 but disappeared from custody just before the judge signed the sentence. 


In 2014 Greco, now living under the alias Paolo Dimitrio, took a job making pizzas in Saint-Étienne, a city of about 500,000 people in the French Alps. Over time, he grew confident in his alias, according to the BBC, and even appeared in television ads where he touted his "regional and home-made recipes such as ravioli, risotto and tagliatelle.”

Italian prosecutors and anti-mafia investigators said the hunt targeted Greco’s considerable support network and eventually led them to suspect his location in the city, 40 miles south of Lyon. 

After French police surveillance teams confirmed his identity, he was arrested without incident and will await extradition proceedings requested by Italy.

Greco was considered a feared killer during a wave of early 1990s infighting among the ‘Ndrangheta’s many clans which killed hundreds of people. The group, which has a global reach across Europe and with a significant presence in North and South America and Australia, is considered among the world’s most powerful organised crime players, with extensive interests in cocaine and weapons trafficking, construction and public works contract fraud, and money laundering. 

Greco’s arrest comes just weeks after the arrest of fugitive Sicilian mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, outside a hospital in Sicily after nearly 30 years evading arrest. Denaro is accused of multiple killings of Italian officials, rival gangsters, and innocent people as well as ordering the kidnapping and murder of the 12 year old boy after his mafia boss father cooperated with the police. Like Greco, Denaro was also accused by prosecutors of using acid to dispose of his victims.