Social media sites are a double-edged sword in the battle between criminals and law enforcement. In this case, the cops were able to exploit the growing habit of wanting to share all your latest personal news with your friends and family.
MARBELLA - By now, most of us know to be extra careful when posting personal information on Facebook. A compromising picture might jeopardize your friendships, your marriage, your career… and if you happen to be among Italy's most wanted mobsters, even your freedom.
Italian and Spanish police have arrested alleged top boss Salvatore D'Avino, whose whereabouts were traced thanks to snapshots posted on Facebook by his pregnant girlfriend.
D'Avino, 39, had been on the run since 2003. He is accused of being a key member of the bloody Giuliano clan of the Camorra crime syndicate of Naples. Italian police had issued arrest warrants for him in 2003 and 2007 on charges of drug trafficking and mafia activity. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
According to Italian authorities, D'Avino had gone into hiding in Tangier, Morocco where he started a relationship with a Moroccan woman. When she got pregnant, the couple moved to the Spanish town of Marbella, on the Costa del Sol.
But with the impending arrival of the offspring, the future mother made a kid's mistake. She posted on Facebook two photographs of herself, proudly pregnant, so her friends and relatives could see. The problem is that in one photo she was posed in front of a sign for a very-well known beach in Marbella, and the other is shot in front of a bronze statue of a lion outside a popular local Italian restaurant.
With that head start, the police were able to locate her whereabouts. Later, monitoring her e-mail, they moved in after she sent a message to D'Avino saying that the birth was imminent.
When the mobster arrived, the police were there, and placed him under arrest. One negative postscript, however, from the police point of view: the Spanish authorities who actually made the arrest were not pleased with their Italian colleagues for describing how the suspect was traced – they fear that when other criminals hear the story, they will remember to be careful on Facebook.
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