Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Don's death marks end of Canada's most powerful Mafia family

The slaying of Nicolo Rizzuto, considered the Godfather of the most powerful criminal group Canada has ever known, marks the end of an era and possibly the return of Calabrian rivals, experts say.
The 86-year-old don was shot dead at his Montreal mansion late Wednesday. According to police, the killer shot him from outside the home and then disappeared into the night without a trace.
The apparent professional hit caps a series of slayings of Sicilian mobsters and attacks against a crime family that has controlled the city's underworld for three decades.
The aim probably of a rival clan, according to crime writer Andre Noel, was the systematic elimination of the Rizzutos. "My first reaction is that this marks the return of the Calabrians," he speculated.
It was by supplanting the Calabrians and murdering mob boss Paolo Violi in 1978 that the Rizzutos took control of the Montreal underworld.
According to Noel, Calabrian clans had recently launched an "offensive" against Sicilian clans in Europe and won. "I suspect the same thing is happening here," he told AFP.
There may also be an element of revenge: the two sons of Paolo Violi who were just children at the time of his death have grown up and could have met up with young Sicilians unhappy with the Rizzuto's rule.
Another Canadian expert on the Mafia, Antonio Nacaso, believes the Rizzuto gang has been targeted by a "coalition" of North American criminal groups that split with the Sicilians.
In addition to traditional Mafia activities, these groups likely want to put their hands on "large government infrastructure investments to come in Quebec, worth 42 billion dollars over five years," Nacaso said.
He noted that according to police the Rizzuto clan siphoned up five percent of construction business in the Canadian province.
Nacaso believes that the recent unrest may also be due to upheaval in the drug world: cocaine is no longer shipped by Colombians to the United States through Montreal (an estimated 80 percent of shipments once passed through Montreal). Rather, it is now shipped from South America across the US-Mexico border.
Old Mafia rules are being disregarded in the pursuit of money.
The Rizzuto clan's demise started last year with the killing by gunfire in broad daylight on a Montreal street of Rizzuto's 42-year-old grandson Nick in late December.
The victim was the heir apparent to the clan leadership.
Five months later, an elderly financier associated with the Rizzuto mafia was reported missing. Paolo Renda, 70, had been recently released from prison after a serving a sentence for criminal association among other charges, but did not arrive home one night, police sources said.
His wife -- sister of Vito Rizzuto -- found his car near their home and alerted police, who found the car doors open and keys on the dashboard. The likelihood that he is still alive is remote.
Then in June, the reputed acting boss of the family, Agostino Cuntrera, 66, and his 48-year-old bodyguard were shot dead.
Nicolo Rizzuto arrived in Canada in 1954 and quickly rose to prominence in the organized crime area.
In November 2006, Canadian police launched a massive crackdown dubbed "Operation Coliseum," which led to Nicolo Rizzuto's arrest and conviction.
He was sentenced to four years in prison and sent to jail along with a number of his associates, but was later released under strict monitoring.
Now the family is decapitated.
Only Vito Rizzuto, the son of Nicolo and father of Nick remains. In 2006, Vito was extradited to the United States and prosecuted in connection with the 1981 murder of three Bonanno crime family members, earning a 10-year sentence.
He may be released in 2012 and seek revenge, according to rules of the Cosa Nostra, but it is unclear what means would be left to him.



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