Story highlights

Police find Michele Zagaria in a bunker 4 meters (12 feet) below his home near Naples

They used heavy equipment to get to the alleged Mafia boss

Zagaria was on Italy's "most wanted" list, accused of homicide, Mafia association

Italian interior minister calls the arrest "a strong strike" against the Naples Mafia, Camorra

Rome CNN  — 

Police in Italy on Wednesday arrested an alleged top Mafia boss hiding in an underground bunker below his home in a small town near Naples, according to police and the Interior Ministry.

Michele Zagaria, believed to be the head of the powerful Casalesi Clan of the Naples Mafia, Camorra, had been on the run for nearly 16 years.

Hundreds of police officers, both from Naples and the nearby city of Caserta, were involved in the operation, police said. Heavy equipment was used to dig into the ground where the bunker was located, 4 meters (12 feet) underground. After police broke through the bunker walls and ceiling, Zagaria surrendered when he realized that “he had no place to run,” according to Pietro Morelli, head of the Naples Police Homicide Squad.

Italian Interior Minister Annamaria Cancellieri in a statement welcomed the news of the arrest, which she called “a big success of the state, and a strong strike against not only the Casalesi Clan but the entire Camorra organization.”

Zagaria was on the Interior Ministry’s “most wanted” list, on charges of Mafia association, homicide, extortion, theft and other crimes. He was considered to be the last “super-fugitive” of the Camorra.

Morelli said the police had attempted for years to track down and arrest Zagaria, who is believed to have spent his fugitive years in his hometown, Casapesenna, where he was arrested Wednesday.