Giuseppe Alvaro, 33, a member of the powerful 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate in southern Italy, was surprised by police as he hid in an olive oil mill near Monterosso Calabro in the Calabria region.
Alvaro, who had been on the run since 2007 and was wanted for money laundering and possessing illegal arms, gashed his leg throwing himself out of a window and broke his ankle on landing, police said in a statement.
He was easily apprehended, clapped in irons, and taken to hospital for his injuries.
Alvaro had taken over command of a 'Ndrangheta clan following the arrest of his father, a known criminal boss, in 2005, and his orders were followed to the letter by his footsoldiers, police said.
Italy's Interior Minister Angelo Alfano congratulated officers on a successful sting on the acting head of “one of the 'Ndrangheta's most powerful clans”.
Notoriously ruthless, the 'Ndrangheta has surpassed the Sicilian Mafia and the Naples-based Camorra thanks to the wealth it has amassed as the principal importer and wholesaler of cocaine produced in Latin America and smuggled into Europe.
That trade is worth billions and previous police operations have indicated that the 'Ndrangheta has well-established links with Colombian producer cartels, Mexican crime gangs and mafia families in New York and other parts of North America.
The organization is made up of numerous village and family-based clans based in Calabria, the rural, mountainous and under-developed “toe” of Italy's boot.