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CRIME

Bodies of murdered Frenchwomen head home

The bodies of two French women who were found shot to death in a nature preserve in northern Argentina are to be sent home as new evidence emerged from the crime scene, officials said.

The bodies “have been prepared for the trip to their home country,” a court official told AFP Wednesday on condition of anonymity, saying the investigating judge needed to authorize the order and submit it to the Argentine government.

Repatriation of the bodies of French university students Houria Moumni, 24, and Cassandre Bouvier, 29, was expected on Thursday or Friday, the official said.

Officers late Wednesday found clothing thought to be from one or both of the women, in the ongoing search for evidence in the area, a police source told AFP.

Two witnesses have told investigators they heard gunshots on July 16 in the part of the preserve where the bodies were found.

Moumni and Bouvier were apparently killed last week while hiking in the San Lorenzo Gorge.

Their bodies were found on Friday on a trail in an area overlooking the provincial capital of Salta.

One of the women was shot in the head and apparently sexually abused. The other was shot in the back.

Investigators have taken DNA evidence from the bodies, including hair samples thought to be of the culprit and, from one of the victims, traces of semen.

Police said Tuesday they had arrested a new suspect who has been linked to the murder weapon, identified as Daniel Vilte.

A man who rents horses to tourists in the area, 43-year-old Francisco Tejada, was arrested and later released for lack of evidence.

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CRIME

Italian killer with mafia links arrested in France after 16 years on the run

A convicted murderer linked to one of Italy's most powerful mafia organisations was arrested on Thursday in central France, Interpol said.

Italian killer with mafia links arrested in France after 16 years on the run

Edgardo Greco, 63, is suspected of belonging to the notorious ‘Ndrangheta, a powerful mafia organisation in Calabria, southern Italy.

He is wanted in Italy to serve a life sentence for the murders of Stefano and Giuseppe Bartolomeo, and accused of the attempted murder of Emiliano Mosciaro “as part of a mafia war between the Pino Sena and Perna Pranno gangs that marked the early 1990s”, Interpol said.

The Bartolomeo brothers were beaten to death with iron bars in a fish warehouse, Italian police said.

Greco’s arrest in central France came with help for Italy and France from the “Cooperation against ‘Ndrangheta Project” (I-CAN) run by Interpol, which facilitates police cooperation between its 195 member states.

READ ALSO: Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi, quoted in Interpol’s statement, said the arrests demonstrated his country’s commitment to “fighting all forms of organised crime and locating dangerous fugitives”.

The ‘Ndrangheta is considered Italy’s most extensive and powerful mafia group, Interpol said, operating worldwide and with strong ties to the trade in cocaine bound for Europe from South America

I-CAN’s job is help raise awareness of ‘Ndrangheta and their modus operandi, sharing police information to dismantle their networks and operations, the agency said.

The arrest of Greco, who worked in the evenings in a pizza restaurant under an assumed named according to Italian media, came a week after Italian police said it had dismantled a ‘Ndrangheta mafia ring dominating a large area of southern Calabria and seized assets exceeding 250 million euros.

Fifty-six people, many already in prison, were put under criminal investigation for a series of crimes including mafia-related conspiracy, extortion, kidnapping, bribery and possession of weapons, police and prosecutors said.

The arrest of Greco comes just over two weeks after Italian police arrested one of the most notorious bosses of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra mafia, Matteo Messina Denaro, who had been on the run for 30 years.

The 60-year-old was arrested after visiting a health clinic where he was being treated in the Sicilian capital Palermo

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