| Emanuele Ragusa, born in or around 1940, has been described by authorities as being one of the most influential mobsters in the country and a top lieutenant of reputed Montreal Mafia Godfather Vito Rizzuto. Before that, he was supposedly close to Paolo Violi, until the mob boss was gunned down in 1978. He also allegedly has contacts among leaders of the Caruana/Cuntrera international crime family.
One of Ragusa’s daughters is married to Vito Rizzuto’s eldest son, Nicolo, while his other daughter supposedly wed reputed mobster Luigi Vella.
Ragusa, a former New York resident, is described in National Parole Board documents as the Montreal Mafia’s “banker” and being involved in money laundering and drug importation. The documents add that Ragusa is not suspected of involvement in any of the organization’s violent activities.
A 1995 La Presse article listed Pierino and Michael Divito, father and son, as being members of the Ragusa crew. Authorities have claimed the elder Divito is one of the Montreal mob’s top drug traffickers.
In the early 1980s, the Italian government charged Ragusa with drug trafficking but, for some reason, the reputed mobster was never extradited.
Ragusa was among the 57 underworld figures arrested on August 30, 1994, the result of a four year RCMP undercover sting. The Mounties established a phoney money-change house at the corner of Peel street in 1990 and successfully lured in some of Montreal's top criminals. Police say about $100 million was laundered through the establishment and seized 558 kilos of cocaine. Ragusa was charged with money laundering and drug trafficking. Others arrested were Sabatino “Sam” Nicolucci, Valentino Morielli, and Vincenzo “Jimmy” Di Maulo. In 1996, Ragusa was sentenced to 12 years for conspiracy to import drugs and money laundering.
That same year, according to a news report, Ragusa was named in another drug affair, the result of joint operation between Canadian and American authorities. A dozen people were accused of plotting to import 543 kilograms of cocaine. Police seized 75 kilos of cocaine were seized in New York.
By May 1998, after serving two years of his sentence, Ragusa was living in a halfway house and working at the Mission Bon Accueil on Saint-Antoine Street, preparing meals for the homeless. One day, he spotted two steaks and stole them. It had made so long since he had eaten steak, he later told the parole board, that when saw the steaks in the kitchen, he couldn’t resist. Ragusa’s conditional liberation was soon revoked.
Ragusa would have made parole in February 2003 had he not been in a lie. Despite a condition that he not associate with other organized crime figures, Ragusa attended his son’s wedding, where he knew there would be dozens in attendance. Officials turned down his request for parole.
At the hearing, according to an Ottawa Citizen article, the reputed mobster voiced his intent to “retire” from the underworld and run a corner store. A prison psychologist backed up the claim, concluding that Ragusa did indeed wish to stop his involvement with the Montreal Mafia.