Arico, who is currently serving a 12-year sentence for drug trafficking, extortion and weapons charges was questioned last week at Barwon Prison by the Purana organized crime taskforce regarding the murder of Richard Mladenich 20 years ago. It is generally regarded as one of the most significant killings in Melbourne’s mob war.
Cold Blooded Murder
Mladenich who worked for ex-boss Carl Williams as a bodyguard was shot at the Esquire Motel in St Kilda on May 16, 2000. A man wearing sunglasses walked into his motel room at 3:30 am and shot Mladenich in the head.
Police are convinced that the gunman was Arico who worked as a foot soldier for Williams at the time.
At an inquest, police learned that the gunman stared at one of the witnesses before fleeing and another witness was later warned by someone else in jail to “Forget about what they saw when Mladenich was killed”.
It is not known if Arico had any useful information to offer during his interview with detectives at the maximum-security prison last Friday
Tommy Ivanovic, a convicted murderer and close associate of Arico is also a suspect. He was released from prison in 2018 only to be arrested again later and questioned by detectives.
Police firmly believe that 37-year-old Mladenich was killed on Williams’ orders. Mladenich owed Williams over $100,000 which they were overheard arguing about earlier at the Crown Casino.
Police also theorize that Williams’ own murder inside Barwon prison in 2010 was directly related to him ordering Mladenich killed. They believe that his knowledge of the murder and the fact he was helping authorities at the time on other matters, left a few people feeling uncomfortable and exposed. He was beaten to death with an exercise bike by fellow inmate Matthew Charles Johnson.
Arico is at high risk of being deported back to Italy once his prison term expires.
In the meantime, there is a $1 Million Reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the Mladenich murderer.
If you have any information go to crimestoppersvic.com.au