Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Francesco Barbaro, the historic boss of the global 'Ndrangheta crime organization based in southern Italy, died Thursday night in prison while serving time over the killing of a police official.
Barbaro, known as "Ciccio 'u Castanu" and the oldest inmate in Italy, died at 91 in a prison in Parma, about 280 miles north of Rome, Gazzetta di Parma reported Friday. He was imprisoned for the 1990 killing of Brigadier Antonino Marino, but previously did a prison stint of more than two decades for kidnapping.
Authorities said "he lead the most powerful and important division of the Calabrian 'ndrangheta."
His son, Rocco, was arrested in May 2017 and was sentenced on Oct. 10 on charges of leading drug trafficking activities between Italy and South America. Another son was recently released from prison due to health issues.
He "was adored like a relic" by great-grandchildren now living throughout the world, Gazzetta di Parma reported.
The 'Ndrangheta is a mafia-like organization based in Calabria, a region of southern Italy. It has in recent history operated independently of the Sicilian Mafia.
Other known organized crime organizations are the Camorra, based in Naples, and the Sacra Corona Unita, in the region of Puglia.