Drug dealer arrested after posting photos on Facebook

What happens when you take pictures of yourself beside a wax model of U.S. President Barack Obama and post them on Facebook? If you're a fugitive, you're quickly tracked down and arrested.

27-year-old Michele Grasso of Italy disappeared in 2008 to escape a conviction for drug dealing. He ended up in London, where he found work as a waiter in an Italian restaurant. After four years of evading the authorities, he's finally been caught, after he posted multiple photos on Facebook showing himself posing with a wax model of U.S. President Barack Obama, Tom Cruise, David Beckham, Jim Carrey, and many others.

The Italian fugitive's undoing all began with a trip to the famous Madame Tussauds wax museum in the British capital, according to Italian news agency ANSA. His Facebook profile shows he was at the museum sometime before October 17, 2011, which is they day he uploaded photos he took at the museum from with his mobile phone. A quick count showed that he uploaded 70 photos to the social network that day. In an album titled "Christmas in London" in 2010, he posted images of himself at the Ministry of Sound nightclub, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, and Oxford Circus.

Italian police were monitoring his Facebook account, and when they saw his photos, they immediately suspected he was in London. Since another photo showed him working in the kitchen of a pizzeria, Italian cops had useful location information to hand over when they contacted Interpol and their British counterparts, who found Grasso in a London suburb. The operation that led to his capture was aptly named Big Ben.

January 23, 2012 is the last day his Facebook profile showed any activity, but he was extradited from London just last weekend. The Italian fugitive was eventually deported to Rome, where he was promptly arrested and transferred to prison to begin his five-year prison sentence, which he was given last year in his absence. The Sicilian court also handed him a €24,000 ($31,500) fine for drug dealing.

Until his Facebook photo uploading spree, Grasso remained untraceable. His Facebook profile still claims he Lives in Alcatraz, New Mexico. I wonder how he finds his Italian jail cell by comparison.

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