|Nicolo "Nick" Rizzuto|
| 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.