In the Media

Sicilian fugitive deported after London whereabouts revealed on Facebook

PUBLISHED February 12, 2012

Michele Grasso tracked down after profile documented visits to Madame Tussauds, Ministry of Sound and London Eye

A Sicilian drug dealer who fled to the UK has been extradited after he gave himself away by posting photos of London locations on Facebook.

The snaps included one of Madame Tussauds, where Michele Grasso posed with a model of Barack Obama.

Grasso vanished from his home town, Taormina, in 2010 as police sought to arrest him for drug dealing. But he was untraceable and mockingly said on Facebook that his address was Alcatraz.

He used the site to let friends know he was having a wonderful time. In 2010, he posted photos of himself building a snowman under the title "Fantastic!" and wrote: "Have you seen how beautiful it is here with the snow?".

That prompted one friend to write: "Why don't you let me know where you are? Is it in case you get caught?"

Grasso then posted photos under the title "Christmas in London", followed by snaps of trips to the Ministry of Sound nightclub, the London Eye, Tower Bridge and Oxford Circus.

He also posted photos of himself with his arm around a woman, titled "My 24th birthday (in London)".

In 2011, Grasso was sentenced in his absence to five years in prison and a ?24,000 (?20,000) fine for drug dealing by a Sicilian court. But instead of keeping quiet about his new life, he began to give away clues about whereabouts in London he could be found.

Last month, he posted photos of himself working in the kitchen of a pizzeria in Woodford Green, adding external shots of the restaurant and giving its name.

Two weeks ago, Grasso posted photos of himself posing with waxworks of Obama, Tom Cruise and David Beckham at Madame Tussauds.

Meanwhile, Italian police contacted Interpol and their British counterparts to request Grasso's arrest and extradition. He was partying near Waltham Abbey at the end of January, according to recent posts.

An Italian news agency reported on Saturday that Grasso was arrested by Italian police in an operation named Big Ben before being put on a plane back to Italy. He is now reported to be in prison in Rome. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds