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Suspected Mafia Kingpin Escapes from Jail in Brazil

November 2, 1990

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) _ Suspected Mafia kingpin Umberto Ammaturo of Italy escaped from jail where he was awaiting extradition, the government news agency Radiobras said Thursday.

Ammaturo’s cell at federal police headquarters in the capital was found locked and empty, the agency said.

TV Globo, Brazil’s largest commercial network, said there was no sign of a forced breakout. Police suspect the Italian received inside help, the network said.

Ammaturo, a reputed leader of the Naples-based Mafia known as ″Camorra,″ was arrested in August in the east-central city of Governador Valadares, where he was trying to obtain a Peruvian passport.

Federal police investigated and found an Interpol arrest order for the Italian.

Ammaturo fled Italy in May 1987, police said at the time of his arrest. He had just finished a 6-year prison term on a drug-related charge and had been sentenced to an additional 17 years for drug trafficking, police said.

In Naples, Ammaturo was responsible for a drug trafficking network between South America and Europe, police said.

Italy has asked for Ammaturo’s extradition. The Brazilian Supreme Court must rule on the request.

Update hourly