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

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mob blood flowed in Montreal in 2010

Montreal streets ran with mob blood in 2010 in a string of deaths that most likely signal the demise of that city’s Rizzuto crime family.
The shocking murders or disappearance of the hierarchy of the Rizzuto crime family — the Montreal-based clan that operated in southern Ontario and Quebec — probably indicates a coup from within as opposed to a challenge from outside.
The Rizzutos pushed their way into southern Ontario in the 1990s, playing a major role in supplying cocaine. They also raked in about 5% of Quebec’s construction contracts.
“The list of motives is long,” said one Toronto-area intelligence cop. “The list of suspects is longer. What is the connection between there and here? Where’s the controlling factor? It’s hard to tell ... (but) time will tell.”
Another police mob watcher said the best working theory is that a collective of groups is behind the assault on the Rizzutos.
He noted there was a car with a Quebec licence plate parked in the driveway of a Hamilton mob boss following the murder of Nicolo Rizzuto Sr. in November.
Does it mean anything, or was it a coincidence?
And what’s the relationship between Hamilton and the Buffalo La Cosa Nostra. A number of its members were seen in Hamilton on a regular basis after the natural death of Vincenzo “Jimmy” Luppino in July 2009?
And how do the traditional Calabrian groups in the GTA, centred in Woodbridge, fit in the puzzle?
The fall of the Rizzutos began with Project R.I.P., a police investigation based in York Region that focused on members of Vito Rizzuto’s crime family in southern Ontario, in particular his lieutenant, Gaetano Panepinto, who ran Casket Royale on St. Clair Ave. W.
Panepinto was murdered in a settling of scores that Rizzuto had tried to resolve with local ‘ndrangheta clans, but the victim — despite knowing he was targeted for death unless he relinquished control of his crew — stood his ground and was slain in 2000.
Police hit the Toronto wing with 32 arrests in 2001 and found links with a GTA Hells Angels chapter when detectives uncovered a scheme to import a tonne of cocaine.
In turn, wiretaps gathered in R.I.P. led Quebec police to launch Project Colisee, which targeted the Rizzuto clan in Montreal, arresting in 2006 significant mob lieutenants, including Vito Rizzuto’s potential successor Francesco Arcadi, consigliere Paolo Renda and his father, Nick, 82, the group’s first godfather.
Further, Vito was jailed in 2007 in the U.S. for his role in the 1981 murders of three Bonanno crime family captains. He now awaits possible extradition to Italy for his alleged role in a money laundering scheme in charges filed by the Direzione Investigativa Antimafia in Italy.
In the background, however, was the Bonanno acting chief, Canadian-born, Sicilian-raised Salvatore Montagna, dubbed the Bambino Boss by New York media, who was deported to Montreal by U.S. authorities in April 2009.
The Bonanno La Cosa Nostra family historically claimed Montreal as its turf, an extension created by Joe “Bananas” Bonanno.
Some police believe Montagna still leads the Bonannos and it’s not clear what role — if any — he has in the assault on the Rizzutos.
In August 2009, convicted drug trafficker Federico del Peschio, 59, friend of Nicolo Rizzuto, was gunned down.
On Dec. 28, 2009, Vito’s son Nicolo “Nick” Rizzuto Jr., 42, was shot dead.
Paolo Renda, 70, disappeared last May and is presumed dead.
In June, Agostino Cuntrera, 66, in charge of the daily operations while Vito Rizzuto remains in a Colorado jail, was gunned down. His driver and bodyguard, Liborio Sciascia, 40, was also killed.
On Nov. 10, Nicolo Rizzuto Sr., 86, was hit by a bullet fired by a sniper in his west-end Montreal home.
Investigators suspect Vito Rizzuto will seek revenge when he’s released from jail, but there’s also an assumption by police that whoever is behind the demise of Vito’s family won’t give him the chance to retaliate.
Italian authorities, meanwhile, struck a severe blow against the Calabrian ‘ndrangheta in 2010 in Project Crimine, named after the annual meeting of ‘ndrangheta leaders held at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Polsi near the town of San Luca.
A “capo crimine”, a figurehead leader, is elected to chair the meeting and oversees forums where disputes are settled and business plans are discussed.
The Italian investigation uncovered strong links between ‘ndrangheta cells in southern Ontario, Thunder Bay, and Calabria.
In July, Italian police arrested more than 300 people, including the current capo crimine, Domenico Oppedisano, 80. Also arrested were leaders who are significant players in southern Ontario and New York, including Vaughan resident Vincenzo Tavernese.
Powerful mob boss Giuseppe Coluccio, who with the help of two brothers runs the Acquino-Coluccio clan, lived in a luxury condo in Toronto when he was arrested in 2008 by Canadian police in Operation O-Peggio. He was deported and was arrested in Project Crimine.
Italian police also targeted the Commisso clan and its leader Antonio “Master” Commisso, who was deported from the GTA in 2005. About $280 million of the group’s assets were seized.



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