Montreal mob boss shot dead in his home   Leave a comment

MONTREAL – The head of the once-powerful Rizzuto crime family was likely cut down by a single bullet from a professional hitman as he prepared dinner with his wife and daughter nearby.

A lone bullet hole through a glass wall at the rear of Nicolo (Nick) Rizzuto’s luxury home leads investigators to believe that the gunman waited in a stand of trees for the right moment to get a clear shot at the 86-year-old kingpin at suppertime on Wednesday.

“The impact of the bullet was able to pierce two windows to hit Mr. Rizzuto,” Cmdr. Denis Mainville, head of Montreal’s organized crime squad, told QMI Agency on Thursday.

He said the high-profile murder has all the hallmarks of an assassination.

Nicola Rizzuto, also known as Nick Rizzuto, (February 18, 1924 – November 10, 2010) was the former godfather of the Sicilian faction of the Italian Mafia in Montreal. Rizzuto was born in Cattolica Eraclea, Sicily, in 1924, and immigrated to Canada in 1954 when the family settled in Montreal. Nick’s son Vito Rizzuto was allegedly the godfather of the Sicilian Mafia in Canada and is currently serving a federal sentence for homicide in the United States.

Rizzuto began his Mafia career in Canada as an associate of the Cotroni crime family that controlled much of Montreal’s drug trade in the 1970s while answering to the Bonanno crime family of New York. He was, however, more closely linked to the Sicilian Mafia, in particular the Cuntrera-Caruana Mafia clan, who came from the same region in the province of Agrigento.

Nick Rizzuto had ties to organized crime in Canada, the United States, Venezuela and Italy. Rizzuto allegedly participated in the murder in 1978 of Paolo Violi, a Bonanno underboss who had been named boss of Montreal’s family. He allegedly replaced the late Vic Cotroni as the clearinghouse for Corsican heroin entering Canada and the United States.

Rizzuto did not care much about the formal and ceremonial command lines in the Cotroni family, who were of Calabrian origin. Violi complained about the independent modus operandi of his Sicilian ‘underlings’, Nick Rizzuto in particular. “He is going from one side to the other, here and there, and he says nothing to nobody, he is doing business and nobody knows anything,” Violi said about Rizzuto. Violi asked for more ‘soldiers’ from his Bonanno bosses, clearly preparing for war, and Violi’s boss at the time, Vincent Cotroni remarked: “After all, I am ‘capo decina’, I have the right to expel him.”

By the 1980s, the Rizzutos emerged as the city’s pre-eminent Mafia crew after a turf war between the Montreal family’s Sicilian and Calabrian factions.

The Rizzuto family territory covered most of southern Quebec and Ontario. The FBI considers the family connected to the Bonanno family,  but the Canadian law enforcement considers it a separate crime family. The Rizzuto family was part of the powerful Montreal Cotroni family until an internal war broke out and the Rizzuto’s formed their own family.

In the 1970s an internal war broke out in the Cotroni crime family between the Sicilian and Calabrian factions.  The Sicilian faction was led by Nicolo Rizzuto and the Calabrian faction was led by family boss Vic Cotroni. This led to a violent mafia war in Montreal leading to the deaths of Paolo Violi (who was a capo of a crew, later underboss for Vic Cotroni) and others in the late 1970s. The war ended when Vic Cotroni the Calabrian leader had to let go of the Silican faction led by Nicolo Rizzuto in control by the blessing of the Bonanno family. Today the family is considered the strongest crime family in Canada. The leader is Vito Rizzuto the son of the first, and late leader Nicolo Rizzuto.

Vito Rizzuto’s style of business was a striking contrast to flamboyant American mobsters like John Gotti. He remained at the top of Canada’s criminal underworld by keeping a low profile, working only with trusted people close to the family, and spreading the wealth around. He is credited with playing a major role in bringing a truce in the deadly war between the Hells Angels and the Rock Machine in Quebec. The Rizzutos worked with both Sicilian Mafia and Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta families, the Cuntrera-Caruana Mafia clan (which branched out from Sicily to Canada and South America), Colombian drug cartels and the five Mafia families of New York, in particular the Bonannos and Gambinos. Rizzuto was the mediator who oversaw the peace with the Hells Angels, the Mafia, street gangs, Colombian cartels and the Irish mobs such as the West End Gang when the order of the day was co-operation.

After consolidation of their power in the 1990s, the Rizzutos became over-exposed and over-extended. Vito Rizzuto was arrested in January 2004 for his involvement in the 1981 gangland killings of three rival Bonanno crime family captains (Alphonse Indelicato, Phillip Giaccone and Dominick Trinchera) and was sentenced to ten years in May 2007.  In November 2006 the senior leadership of the criminal organization was hit by a police operation, dubbed Project Colisee. Among the 90 people arrested were Nick Rizzuto, father of Vito Rizzuto, Paolo Renda, Vito Rizzuto’s brother-in-law, and Francesco Arcadi.

On December 28, 2009, Nick Rizzuto Jr., son of Vito Rizzuto, was shot and killed near his car in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, a borough in Montreal.  The killing of Nick Jr. – the face of the organization on the street – illustrated the power vacuum within the upper ranks of Montreal organized crime.

Since the slaying of Vito Rizzuto’s son, the organisation suffered other major setbacks. Paolo Renda, Vito’s brother-in-law disappeared on May 20, 2010. A month later Agostino Cuntrera, the presumed acting boss who is believed to have taken control of the family, was killed together with his bodyguard on June 30, 2010. After three decades of relative stability, the face of the city’s Mafia hierarchy is subject to a major management shuffle.

On November 10th, 2010, Nicolo Rizzuto, father of Vito Rizzuto, was killed at his residence in the Cartierville borough of Montreal.

Since many experts agree that the Rizzuto family was a branch of the Bonanno crime family from New York.  A brief description of the New York Five Families is provided below.

The Five Families are the five major Italian-American Mafia crime families which have dominated organized crime in New York City since the 1930s.  The Five Families, under the suggestion of Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky, were responsible for the establishment of The Commission, a council which demarcated territory between the previously warring factions and governs American Mafia activities in the United States. The Five Families in New York remain as the powerhouse of the Italian Mafia in the US.

The names of the Five Families are attributed to Mafia informant Joe Valachi. After his arrest in 1959, Valachi gave the police the names of the current bosses of the Five Families. The names of four of those bosses, Gaetano Lucchese, Vito Genovese, Carlo Gambino, and Joe Bonanno, were used to name their respective families. The fifth family was headed by Joe Profaci in 1959, but it is named after its 1960s era boss, Joseph Colombo.

Current Bosses

  • Genovese: Boss – Vacant, (Acting Boss – Danny Leo)
  • Gambino: Boss – Peter Gotti, (Ruling Committee/Panel – Daniel “Danny” Marino, John Gambino, Bartolomeo “Bobby” Vernace)
  • Lucchese: Boss – Vittorio “Vic” Amuso, (Ruling Committee/Panel – Aniello “Neil” Migliore, Joseph “Joey Dee” DiNapoli, Matthew Madonna)
  • Colombo: Boss – Carmine “Junior” Persico, (Acting Boss – Andrew “Andy Mush” Russo)
  • Bonanno: Boss – Vacant, (Acting Boss – Vincent Asaro is also the candidate to become the new official Boss.)


The Five Families operate throughout the New York Metropolitan area, but mainly within New York City’s five boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island and also in Northern New Jersey. In the state of New York the families have increased their criminal rackets in Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk) and the counties of Westchester, Rockland and Albany. They have maintained an historical presence in the state of New Jersey since the Prohibition era.  The families are also active in South Florida, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Las Vegas.

  • The Genovese crime family — operates mainly in Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn and New Jersey. But the family also maintains influence in Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Florida.
    • 116th Street Crew — (operates in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx)
    • Greenwich Village Crew — (operates in Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan)
    • Genovese crime family New Jersey faction — (operates all over New Jersey)
  • The Gambino crime family — operates mainly in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and New Jersey. But also maintains influence in The Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island, Westchester County, Connecticut, Florida and Los Angeles.
    • The Ozone Park Boys — (operates in Queens and Long Island area)
    • DeMeo Crew — (operates in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan)
  • The Lucchese crime family — operates mainly in The Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. But also maintains influence in Queens, Long Island, Staten Island, Westchester County, and Florida.
    • Cutaia Crew — (operates in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island)
    • The Jersey Crew — (operates in all over New Jersey)
    • The Tanglewood Boys — (a recruitment gang operating in Westchester County, The Bronx and Manhattan.)
  • The Bonanno crime family — operates mainly in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island. But also maintains influence in Manhattan, The Bronx, Westchester County, New Jersey, Florida and Montreal, Quebec Canada.
    • The Motion Lounge crew — (operates in Brooklyn and Long Island)
  • The Colombo crime family — operates mainly in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island. But also maintains influence in Staten Island, Manhattan, The Bronx, New Jersey and Florida.
    • Garfield Boys — (operates in the South Brooklyn area)

Posted November 12, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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