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

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Montreal godfather Vito Rizzuto inducted non Italians into his mafia family

Montreal mob boss Vito Rizzuto broke the fundamental, centuries-old rules of the Mafia by formally inducting non-Italians into his Mafia clan, including a French-Canadian and a Spaniard, according to conversations secretly recorded in Sicily.
He may be regretting his multicultural approach.
Juan Ramon Fernandez
One of his non-Italian inductees, Juan Ramon Fernandez, who was born in Spain and seen as his rock-ribbed, loyal henchman, was recently killed in Sicily, apparently because he was reluctant to choose sides in Montreal’s deadly Mafia war.
Another, Quebecer Raynald Desjardins, has been named as the architect of the rebellious faction that challenged the leadership of Mr. Rizzuto in Montreal, authorities allege.
The wiretaps were released to the National Post on Friday after a large police operation in Sicily that arrested 21 men on Wednesday.
They shed fascinating and unexpected light on the perplexing and deadly struggle for control of Canada’s underworld — a struggle that has claimed 20 lives — after police in Sicily monitored conversations between dozens of mobsters, including Canadians visiting and living in the birthplace of the Mafia.
Declaring that Mr. Rizzuto “makes the f–king rules” regardless of what Mafia bosses in Sicily thought, Mr. Fernandez asserted his right to sit at the table with other “men of honour.”
“Vito ‘made’ me and my compare, Raynald,” Mr. Fernandez is heard saying on a wiretap, a reference to being officially inducted into the Mafia, a right previously reserved for Italians.
“You’re not Italian,” said the surprised man he was speaking with.
“No, no. Me and my compare,” Mr. Fernandez insisted, were “made” men despite their lineage.
When faced with further disbelief, Mr. Fernandez, who was an intensely intimidating man, started bellowing.
“Show some respect. I sit at the right hand of God, that’s how close I am,” he said of his relationship with Mr. Rizzuto.
“But I thought that…” the man stammered back, apparently realizing the danger, his voice turning quiet and meek, “I just thought you couldn’t because you’re not Italian.”
Even though Mr. Fernandez spoke passionately about the power of Mr. Rizzuto and his affinity for him, he remained reluctant to rededicate his sword to the veteran mob boss in the underworld war for supremacy in Montreal, the wiretaps suggest.
Quebecer Raynald Desjardins being taken into custody by Quebec police in December 2011. 
Desjardins has been a rival of Vito Rizzuto.
In Sicily, Mr. Fernandez told associates he was close to Mr. Rizzuto but also close to Mr. Desjardins, whom he named as leading the rebel faction challenging Mr. Rizzuto’s control, police in Italy said.
“He didn’t want to take a side in the dispute. He wanted to stay neutral,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Fabio Bottino, commander in Palermo of the Carabinieri R.O.S., the special paramilitary police unit that probes sophisticated organized crime and transnational crime.
The supposedly private chats reveal Mr. Fernandez as a man of conflicting loyalties — he was first brought into the upper echelons of the underworld by Mr. Desjardins, whom he knew from prison but Mr. Rizzuto was the key to his growing power.
Back when Mr. Fernandez was first ingratiating himself with the mobsters, Mr. Desjardins and Mr. Rizzuto were strong allies. Mr. Desjardins bought a house in Montreal near where Mr. Rizzuto and his family — his father and his brother-in-law — lived side-by-side.
Carabinieri Raggruppamento Operativo Speciale
“Show some respect”: Juan Ramon Fernandez in Sicily
In 2001, when Mr. Fernandez was getting married in prison, he made a special request with prison officials to allow both Mr. Rizzuto and Mr. Desjardins to attend the ceremony.
Mr. Fernandez, also known by the alias Joe Bravo, was not afraid to get his hands dirty for his mentors, becoming an important mob figure in Quebec and Ontario, acting as a fearsome emissary for the Rizzuto crime family with Hells Angels, drug barons, street gang members and other underworld players.
In 2007, Mr. Rizzuto was sentenced to 10 years in prison in the United States for his role in three gangland murders in Brooklyn, N.Y., and his grip on Montreal’s underworld started to slip.
Challengers started elbowing for more power and money, investigators in Canada said. It soon turned deadly. Among those killed were several family members and close friends of both Mr. Rizzuto, 67, and Mr. Desjardins, 59.
Police allege that the war became personal for Mr. Desjardins in another way: He and five other men are charged in the 2011 killing of Salvatore “Sal the Ironworker” Montagna. He was a mob boss in New York before being deported to Canada in 2009, and he played an important part in the underworld intrigue until his death.
On Friday, a Quebec judge rejected Mr. Desjardins’ request for release on bail pending his trial for first-degree murder.
Mr. Rizzuto returned to Canada from prison in October. Since then, the rebellion seems to have lost some of its fire.
After Mr. Fernandez was released from prison, in April 2012, he was deported to Spain but moved to Bagheria in Sicily, where he settled among friends, many of whom have ties to the Rizzuto clan, police said.
Police handout
Police in Sicily investigate the scene where the bodies of Juan Ramon Fernandez and Fernando Pimentel were found.
Mr. Fernandez told mafiosi whom he met in Sicily that he was, in fact, a “man of honour,” meaning a formal member of the crime cartel, even though he is not Italian.
“I don’t think the Sicilian Mafia could say anything to Vito Rizzuto, asking him why he was making guys who were not Italian. The Italian Mafia would be cool to this fact but Vito Rizzuto was the boss in Canada and what he wants to do there, that’s OK,” said Lt.-Col. Bottino in an interview with the National Post.
“What is important to them is what you do in your own home. In my home, in my country, this is the rule, if you want to change the rules in your country, well, OK.”
Because Mr. Fernandez was able to help them make money, the mafiosi did not vociferously complain and investigators do not believe it played a role in his death.
“The order to kill him came from Canada,” said Lt.-Col. Bottino, declining to say which faction might have made the decision. If he is correct, it means the war in Canada stretched beyond its borders.
Carabinieri Raggruppamento Operativo Speciale
Fernando-Pimentel in Sicily. He was caught with the wrong guy at the wrong time.
Mr. Fernandez and an associate from Mississauga, Ont., Fernando Pimentel, 36, were lured to a countryside meeting outside Palermo and shot dead in an ambush on April 9. Their bodies were burned and left in the brush beside a dirt road.
Police say Mr. Pimentel, who has several criminal convictions since he was a teenager, was just with the wrong guy at the wrong time.
Two men charged in the murders in Sicily, Pietro Scaduto, 49, and Salvatore Scaduto, 51, are both former residents of Canada.
They moved here in 1989 after their father, a Mafia boss in Bagheria, was killed in a mob war. Pietro Scaduto was deported from Canada after he was involved in the botched Toronto shooting in 2004 that left Louise Russo, an innocent mother, paralyzed.
Police in Sicily arrested 21 people in the probe, one of whom appears to have tipped off police to the location of the bodies of Mr. Fernandez and Mr. Pimentel.
“It has been a very interesting investigation,” said Lt.-Col. Bottino.
And it is an investigation that might mean as much in Canada as it does in Italy.



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