Valentino "Val" Morielli
Montreal Mafia
    Valentino  Morielli  was born in the  mid 1940s. He  was  a childhood friend  and schoolmate of Vito Rizzuto. The two would remain close into adulthood  and, as Rizzuto rose through the ranks of the Montreal Mafia, so did Morielli. 

     Police  arrested  Morielli  and four  underlings - Giachino Delladonne, Pietro  Raschella, Thomas  Martel, and  Eugene  Saint-Jacques - in 1977 and  charged  them with  drug  trafficking. The  arrests  came  after  the seizure of 100 pounds of  hashish  at the Dorval airport, where Raschella and Saint-Jacques worked  as baggage  handlers. Morielli was convicted and sentenced to seven years in  prison, the  minimum possible sentence for drug  trafficking  at the  time. He served  about  three years  and was released in 1980.

    
La Presse, a  French Canadian  newspaper in  Montreal, reported that
upon the 1992 murder of mobster Joe Lopresti, Morielli became Vito Rizzuto's new right-hand man.

     Morielli was among 57 organized crime figures arrested on August 30, 1994, the  result of  a  four year  RCMP  undercover  operation. The  mounties  seized  558  kilograms of  cocaine  and  gathered  evidence  about $100  million the  mobsters had  laundered. Morielli  was charged  with six  counts of trafficking cocaine  and hashish and money laundering.

     Morielli's trial date  was set for  September 5, 1995  and  he  was  released on bail. He, along  with Jos Di  Maulo, Ricardo Di  Massimo, Fernando De  Francesco, and  Micheline  Kemp-Di Maulo, were arrested  on  August 17, 1995  and  charged  with  offering  an  RCMP  officer  $100,000  to  destroy evidence  against Montreal Mafia lieutenant Vincenzo "Jimmy" Di Maulo, who had been charged in the 1994 RCMP sting. Morielli and Jos Di Maulo were released the next day due to lack of evidence.

     Morielli's trial started the first week of  September, 1995. Two of his associates, Pierre Prénoveau and Jean-Guy Bouchard, were also defendants in the case. The mobsters, prosecutor Claude Bélanger told the jury, conspired between July, 1992, and  December, 1993, to import a 2500 kilogram  load of cocaine  and  a 25 ton shipment of  hashish. The drugs  were supposed  to be  brought to  Florida in a fishing boat, where they would then be smuggled into Canada.  

     The Godfather of the Montreal Mafia, Vito Rizzuto, and Herb Kemp, Vincenzo Di Maulo's brother-in-law, were called to testify  at the trial. Rizzuto, who supposedly met with Morielli  at a key moment of the plot to import the shipment of cocaine, described Morielli as a "friend and golf partner."

     On  December 5, 1996, after seven days of  deliberation, the  jury brought in their verdict. Morielli was found guilty of conspiring to import 2500 kilos of cocaine but acquitted of  planning to import 25 tons of  hashish. His co-defendants, Prénoveau and Bouchard, were acquitted. Prénoveau, a long time Morielli underling  and reputed to be highly  active in drug trafficking and loansharking, would murder his wife and then commit suicide a few years later.

     Judge Fraser Martin sentenced Morielli  to ten years in prison on  January 31, 1997. Many thought that the  sentence was too lenient, considering  it was the  mobster's third drug trafficking conviction. Morielli's lawyer, Gilles Daudelin, explained to reporters that he was satisfied with the  Judge  Martin's decision. 

     In February, 2000, Morielli told a parole board that, after living off the profits of crime for over 30 years, he was going to go legit. His son was still young  and he wanted to take care of him. The board was not convinced though and refused to grant him his parole.

     While in prison, Morielli was given  permission to visit his son. He worked  as  a cook in  a shelter for the handicap during the day and returned to then returned to prison at night.

     Morielli  was  released to  a  transition  house  in the first week of  2001. Some of  his  restrictions included staying  away from Mafia hangouts, as well as not being in contact with suspected organized crime figures.
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