Nicolo "Nick" Rizzuto
Montreal Mafia
    Nicolo Rizzuto was born  in 1924 in Sicily, Italy. He would marry Libertina  Manno  and, on  February 21, 1946, their  first  child, Vito, was born. A daughter, Maria, would arrive soon after.

     The family immigrated  to Canada 1954  and  the  family settled in Montreal, in  the  province of  Quebec. Rizzuto established  a closely-knit crew, comprising  of  many  relatives, under  the  banner  of  the primarily Calabrian crime family, led by Vic "The Egg" Cotroni.

     While many Sicilians did not take too kindly to taking orders from a Calabrian, Cotroni commanded a lot of power, and Luigi Greco, the head of the family's Sicilian faction, had the respect of his men.  

     When some of the Caruanas  and Cuntreras arrived in Montreal in
the 1960s, they  aligned themselves with Rizzuto. By then, it was estimated that  almost two-thirds of North America's heroin was imported through Montreal  and the group was determined to get a large share of the market.

     Rizzuto became infuriated when Vic Cotroni named Paolo Violi as his successor. Rizzuto was not willing to let himself be ordered around by Violi and soon openly disrespected his boss by refusing to come in when called for and not giving a Violi a percentage of his lucrative drug operation.

     Mobsters from Sicily  and New York arrived in Montreal and tried to negotiate peace between the two factions. They were not successfuly and Rizzuto fled to Venezuela in 1974, after Violi reportedly placed a contract on his head.

     He settled  around Carcas, Venezuela, where he ran  a  reaturant called
The Godfather. According to police, Rizzuto also operated  a major money laundering and cocaine trafficking ring. He continued to work closely with the  Caruana/Cuntrera family  and maintained  links with other Sicilian mobsters and Colombian drug cartels. 

     Safe  in South America, Rizzuto plotted  a take over of  the  Montreal Mafia. Pietro Sciarra, Violi's  advisor, was  the  first to go. Sciarra was shot to death on Valentine's Day, 1976, as he  and his wife left a showing of, ironically,
The Godfather.

     Francesco Violi, Paolo's brother  and most feared enforcer, was  next to be  murdered. He was in his office  at the family's importing  and  exporting  business on February 8, 1977 when two gunmen charged into the room and pumped him full of bullets.
    
     Paolo Violi  knew  he was  a  marked  man but  refused to leave town. On January 22, 1978, Violi attended  a card game at the Reggio bar, owned by Sicilian mobsters Vincenzo and Giuseppe Randisi. At  around 7:30 pm, as Violi  played cards with  about  a dozen others, a  masked  gunman stalked up behind him, placed a shotgun to the back of his head, and fired.

     Police  arrested Domenico Manno, Nick Rizzuto's brother-in-law, Giovanni DiMora, and Agostino Cuntrera  and charged  them with the  murder. Vincenzo Randisi was  originally  charged  as well but were  dropped  due to  lack of  evidence. Paolo Renda, Rizzuto's son-in-law, was also charged but he escaped to Venezuela, where he joined Rizzuto. After Manno, DiMora, and Cuntrera were  convicted, the warrant against Renda was cancelled and he returned to Montreal.

     In order to eliminate  the  possibility of  reprisals, Rocco, the  last of  the Violi brothers, had to be murdered. Rocco Violi, considered by  authorities to be  a  minor participant in  the  Montreal Mafia's Calabrian faction, was shot to death in October, 1980.

     Nick Rizzuto had returned to Montreal shortly after the murder of Paolo Violi murder and rebuilt a working  relationship with the  Calabrian faction. He left the  leadership of  the  Montreal Mafia in the capable hands of his son Vito and returned to Venezuela, where he, with the Caruanas and Cuntreras, allegedly arranged cocaine shipments into North America. 

     Rizzuto's Venezuelan home was raided by  authorities on February 8, 1988. 700 grams of cocaine was seized  and  police  charged  Rizzuto  and  four  accomplices, including  Antonino Mongiovi  and Gennaro Scaletta, with cocaine possession and trafficking in the illicit drug.  

     He was  acquitted  at  a first trial but prosecutors successfully  appealed  the  decision  and, at the second  trial, Rizzuto was  convicted of one  count of cocaine possession. He was sentenced to eight years. 

     Associates in  both Venezuela  and  Montreal  began  plotting  for  Rizzuto's release. According to government documents, Montreal mobster Domenic Tozzi flew to Venezuela in 1993 with $800,000. The  money was  allegedly given to government  officials of  the  South  American  nation  and, after five years in prison, Rizzuto was paroled.

     Lawyer Jean Salois, representing the  Rizzuto family, denied that such  a payment was ever made. The Canadian government made numerous requests to Venezuelan officials  about the early parole but were suspiciously ignored.

     Rizzuto landed in Montreal on May 23, 1993, and was greeted by son Vito, the  alleged Godfather of  the Montreal Mafia, and over two dozen friends  and family members. Reportedly, Rizzuto acts as advisor to his son, who often seeks his view on certain matters in the family business.

     In  1994, Libertina  Rizzuto, Nicolo's  wife, was  arrested  in  Switzerland  on  money  laundering charges. She  allegedly tried to deposit $3 million at different banks, all in one day. She was acquitted because of lack of evidence.
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