| Vito Rizzuto, son of Nicolo Rizzuto and Libertina Manno, was born on February 21, 1946, in the Sicilian province of Agrigento. The family immigrated to Canada in 1954 and settled in Montreal, Quebec. Rather than enter the legitimate working world, Vito followed in his father's footsteps as a "man of respect".
Rizzuto married Giovanna Cammalleri and had three children. His eldest son, Nicolo, was born in 1967, followed by Leonardo in 1967, and daughter Libertina in 1973.
In 1965, at the age of 19, Rizzuto was convicted of disturbing the peace and fined $25. He was again convicted in 1972, this time with his brother-in-law Paolo Renda, for conspiracy to commit arson. He was sentenced to two years in prison. Renda received four years.
In the 1970s, war broke out between the Montreal Mafia's Calabrian and Sicilian factions and Nicola Rizzuto relocated to Venezuela. Vito remained behind and led his father's forces in the war. The conflict endured until 1981, resulting with more than 20 casualties in Montreal and Italy. Nick and Vito Rizzuto, father and son, came out out of the conflict as leaders of the Montreal Mafia.
Rizzuto was seen meeting with Michel Pozza, close associate of Vic "The Egg" Cotroni and financial advisor of the organization, a few days before he was savagely shot to death outside his Laurentian home on September 28, 1982.
On November 30, 1987, the RCMP seized 16 tonnes of hashish. The drug, with an estimated street value of $350 million, was apprehended on an island off Newfoundland's northeast coast. Rizzuto was arrested and charged with conspiring to traffic in narcotics. But he was absolved of all charges in November of 1990 when Newfoundland Supreme Court Judge Leo Barry ruled that the evidence against the Mafia Godfather had been obtained illegally. Five other men were charged after the bust; four were convicted and received sentences ranging from five to nine years in jail.
In 1988, while out on bail from his 1987 arrest, Rizzuto was nabbed once again. He was charged with conspiring to smuggle 32 tonnes of Lebanese hashish into the country. He was acquitted on December 18, 1989 when informant Normand Dupuis refused to testify. Dupuis, who claimed he was offered $1 million not to take the stand, changed his mind after his family began receiving death threats. Rizzuto walked out free once again, while Dupuis received a 32 month jail sentence on an obstruction of justice charge.
On May 23, 1993, he and two dozen friends and family members greeted his father at a Montreal airport. Nick Rizzuto, who served five
|years in a Venezuelan jail on cocaine trafficking, was released on parole after Montreal mobster Domenic Tozzi delivered a $800 thousand bribe to Venezuelan officials. Nick Rizzuto has become his son's advisor on the family business.
Rizzuto was arrested on May 30, 2002 and charged with drunk driving. Police pulled him over after the alleged Montreal Mafia leader drove erratically. Rizzuto refused to take a breathalyzer and was arrested. Almost two months later, on July 22, he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Vito Rizzuto owns a fabulous house, valued at $551 200, on Antoine-Berthelet Avenue, a street that has been labelled by the press as "Mafia road" because of the high number of alleged mobsters living there. He owns a Porsche, a Suzuki Side-Kick, a Lincoln, two Jaguars, and three Corvettes. He travels regularly but never enters the United States because he believes he'll be arrested.
Rizzuto, considered by many to be the most powerful mobster in Canada, was among 30 mafia suspects arrested on January 20, 2004. He was accused of being the lead gunman in the May 1981 murders of high-ranking New York mobsters Philip Giaccone, Alphonse Indelicato, and Dominick Trinchera.
He is currently in prison awaiting extradition to the United States.