The Rizzuto family is an Italian-Canadian organized crime syndicate based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The family territory covers most of southern Quebec and Ontario. The FBI considers the family connected to the Bonanno crime family, 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.
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 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 recently, the family was considered the strongest crime family in Canada. Their leader is Vito Rizzuto, the son of Nicolo Rizzuto. Vito Rizzuto's leadership
Vito Rizzuto's style of business was a striking contrast to flamboyant American Mafia bosses like John Gotti. He remained the most powerful man in Canada, and the undisputed king of Canada's criminal underworld by keeping a low profile, working only with trusted people close to the family, and spreading the extraordinarily enormous wealth and power around. Vito Rizzuto ruled the Canadian underworld with an iron fist, and Vito Rizzuto displayed a large degree of his astonishing power to Canadian law enforcement officials by ordering the Hells Angels and the Rock Machine Motorcycle Clubs in Quebec to end the deadly war amongst each other, thus, both the Hells Angels and the Rock Machine's ended the war with each other and declared a truce, knowing that they were absolutely no match for Canada's most powerful and dangerous crime lord or his massive army of highly skilled assassins and vicious killers, and they knew that they wouldn't of stood a chance against Rizzuto's gigantic criminal organization of over 50,000 foot soldiers. The Rock Machine MC and Hells Angel's MC knew disobeying or defying Vito Rizzuto would be a death sentence. Thus, both groups made peace with one another on Rizzuto's orders, and began working with each other. Canadian law enforcement officials were flabbergasted after hearing about Rizzuto ordering two powerful criminal gangs to make peace and end their war with one another. Vito Rizzuto transformed the Rizzuto crime family from a nationwide criminal organization into a multi-billion dollar international organized crime empire that had branches all over North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Rizzuto had strong alliances and relationships with several Italian, Italian-American and Sicilian organized crime syndicates, he had long-standing ties and a powerful relationship with the Sicilian Mafia, 'Ndrangheta, Camorra, Sacra Corona Unita, and American Mafia, he worked primarily with the the Five Families of New York, Chicago Outfit, Philadelphia crime family, DeCavalcante crime family, Trafficante crime family, New Orleans crime family, Buffalo crime family and the Bufalino crime family. 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.
The Rizzuto family had long been considered a part of and major ally of the Bonanno family until the murder of Gerlando Sciascia. It was discovered that he was murdered on orders of then Bonanno family boss Joseph Massino shattering the links between the Rizzuto’s and Bonanno’s. The Rizzuto family viewed the killing of one of their own as betrayal and its believed they broke away from any major connections to the New York mob refusing to pay any more tribute after the incident.
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, Philip 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 Nicolo Rizzuto, father of Vito Rizzuto, Paolo Renda, Vito Rizzuto's brother-in-law, and Francesco Arcadi.
While Rizzuto was in prison, Salvatore Montagna, the former acting boss of the Bonanno family until his deportation to Canada in 2009, attempted to reorganize both families under his control. Montagna tried to form an alliance with anti-Rizzuto factions and Ndrangheta clans of the Calabrian Mafia in an attempt to over throw the Sicilian backed Rizzuto’s. This rival faction was reportedly backed by the Ndrangheta in an attempt to take over the drug trade in Canada. It is believed that because of his lack of respect and pull led to Montagna being murdered in November 2011 on the orders of his partner Raynald Desjardins after he attempted to double cross Desjardens in a failed hit.The rival anti Rizzuto faction continued its attack on Rizzuto loyalists to gain control of the criminal rackets in Montreal.
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 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.
Members of the old Cotroni family are among the suspects for the murders of Rizzuto crime family members. 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.
Vito Rizzuto was released on October 6, 2012. Upon his release, Rizzuto ordered the executions of several members and associates of the rival faction.
On November 4, 2012 former Rizzuto family associate Joseph Di Maulo was executed outside his Montreal home. Di Maulo's brother-in-law Raynald Desjardins is currently awaiting trial for the murder of Salvatore Montagna.
On 11 November 2013, Moreno Gallo, a once-influential member of the crime family, was killed by a gunman inside an Italian restaurant in the Mexican city of Acapulco, Guerrero. Though he was not as well-known as other mobsters of the Rizzuto crime family, Gallo was nonetheless influential among the Montreal mafia rings. He had lived in Canada throughout the 1950s but was deported in January 2013 after the Canadian government formally accused him of murder and organized crime charges.
Death of Vito Rizzuto
On December 23, 2013 Rizzuto died in Montreal from complications of lung cancer. Despite his death, attacks on the anti-Rizzuto faction are still being carried out by Rizzuto loyalists.
According to sources the Rizzuto family is now being lead by longtime Rizzuto loyalist Stefano Sollecito, his father Rocco Sollecito, and other Rizzuto loyalists such as Nicola Spagnolo, Vito Salvaggio, Liborio Cuntrera, and Leonardo Rizzuto.