Template:Infobox Criminal organization The Rizzuto family is a crime syndicate that is part of the phenomenon known as the Mafia or Cosa Nostra, based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The family territory covers most of southern Quebec and Ontario.[1] The FBI considers the family connected to the Bonanno crime family,[1] but the Canadian law enforcement considers it a separate crime family. The Rizzuto family was part of the powerful Montreal Cotroni decina until an internal war broke out and the Rizzutos formed their own organization.

History[edit | edit source]

In the 1970s an internal war broke out in the Cotroni crime family between the Sicilian and Calabrian factions.[2] The Sicilian faction was led by Nicolo Rizzuto and the Calabrian faction was led by family boss Vic Cotroni through his right-hand man Paolo Violi. This led to a violent Mafia war in Montreal leading to the deaths of Paolo Violi (who was acting capo and underboss for Vic Cotroni) and others in the late 1970s. The war ended when the Sicilian faction took control over the Montreal underworld with the blessing of the Bonanno crime family. Until recent the family was considered the strongest crime family in Canada. Their leader is Vito Rizzuto, the son of Nicolo Rizzuto.[3][4]

Vito Rizzuto's leadership[edit | edit source]

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.[4][5]

Current status[edit | edit source]

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.[6] 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 Nicolo Rizzuto, father of Vito Rizzuto, Paolo Renda, Vito Rizzuto's brother-in-law, and Francesco Arcadi.[7]

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.[8][9] 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.[10][11] 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.[12] 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.[13][14] On November 10, 2010, Nicolo Rizzuto was killed at his residence in the Cartierville borough of Montreal with a single bullet from a sniper's rifle punched through two layers of glass in the rear patio doors of his Montreal mansion.[15][16][17]

Members of the Cotroni family are among the suspects for the murders of Rizzuto crime family members.[18] The Rizzutos have dominated organized crime activities in Montreal since its inception and now their weakened organization is being challenged for control of rackets in the area, most notability the drug trade.[19] It is unknown if the New York City families, historically aligned with the Rizzuto's, are supporting or against the new leadership. Salvatore Montagna, the acting boss of the Bonanno family until his deportation to Canada in 2009, was believed to be attempting to reorganize both families under his control.[20] If so, he was unsuccessful and was murdered in November 2011.[21] Vito Rizzuto will be released on October 6, 2012, and it remains to be seen if or how he will seek revenge and a return to power.[20] Several of Rizzuto's associates will also be released on parole in 2012.[22]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Humphreys & Lamothe, The Sixth Family, p.308
  2. Organized Crime in The Canadian Encyclopedia
  3. A humble beginning, National Post, November 23, 2006
  4. 4.0 4.1 The man they call the Canadian Godfather, National Post, February 26, 2001
  5. Reorganized crime, The Globe and Mail, September 26, 2008
  6. Rizzuto pleads guilty to racketeering charge, National Post, May 4, 2007
  7. Mob takes a hit, The Montreal Gazette, November 23, 2006
  8. "Mobster's son slain in street", National Post, December 29, 2009 (accessed December 29, 2009)
  9. "Who was Nick Rizzuto Jr.?", The Montreal Gazette, December 28, 2009 (accessed December 29, 2009)
  10. Slaying sends chilling signal, The Montreal Gazette, December 29, 2009
  11. Slaying hits at heart of Canada's mob, National Post, December 30, 2009
  12. Kiss of death for Montreal's Rizzuto clan?, The Montreal Gazette, May 22, 2010
  13. Two slain in St. Leonard shootout, The Montreal Gazette, June 30, 2010
  14. Major change in Montreal Mafia: Experts, The Montreal Gazette, June 30, 2010
  15. Template:Fr Nicolo Rizzuto assasiné
  16. Template:Fr Nicolo Rizzuto assasiné (Radio-Canada)
  17. Hit 'signals war', National Post, November 9, 2010
  18. Full-out war for supremacy in Montreal’s underworld, Tandem, January 1, 2011. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
  19. Billions at stake in Montreal Mafia struggle, Toronto Sun, November 20, 2010. Retrieved November 25, 2011
  20. 20.0 20.1 Shot down in a ‘sloppy’ hit, another Montreal mobster dies, The Globe and Mail, November 25 2011. Retrieved November 26 2011.
  21. Reputed Montreal mob boss killed, QMI Agency, November 25, 2011
  22. Tumultuous times await Vito Rizzuto, The Montreal Gazette April 6, 2012

See also[edit | edit source]

Template:Canadian gangs

fr:Famille Rizzuto it:Famiglia Rizzuto

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.