- Powerful mob boss Vito Rizzuto died of natural causes in 2013, leaving vacuum
- "Everybody wants to be the next boss now that Rizzuto is gone," said Paul Manning, a former undercover officer in Hamilton.
- Illegal gambling has been especially contentious subject in wake of Platinum Sports takedown
- One mobster gunned down in his driveway just two months ago was a “well planned hit”
Ever since Vito Rizzuto’s death by natural causes in 2013, various organized crime figures have been jostling to fill the former Montreal mob boss’ shoes…..and the result has been bloody, to say the least.
The violence has extended beyond Montreal with about a dozen unsolved violent incidents this year alone in Ontario, ranging from shootings, explosions and killings.
"Everybody wants to be the next boss now that Rizzuto is gone," said Paul Manning, a former undercover officer in Hamilton. "There's a lot of infighting over who will be the next boss."
Illegal gambling has been particularly contentious over the past few years since Rizzuto's death and the 2013 dismantling of Platinum Sports Book, an illegal internet-based gambling network.
The Fall of Platinum Sports
The shutdown of Platinum Sports got underway with the raid of a 2013 Super Bowl party with more than 2300 in attendance. At the time, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) seized $2.5 million.
“The people found within this gaming house were dispersed in an orderly fashion, while those profiting from this were arrested," said Supt. Paul Pedersen. "Six men have been arrested and charged with participating in a criminal organization and other gaming-related charges."
Ultimately, a few dozen individuals were charged for their role in Platinum Sports, which was partially run out of Costa Rica. Authorities claim the book had ties to both organized crime and the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang. Following the Super Bowl party raid, the RCMP intercepted a backpack filled with $1.3 million cash enroute to Vancouver believed to belong to the Hells Angels.
Despite the takedown, Platinum was big business and still exists to this day, albeit the book has now gone way underground.
"Everyone's fighting for control of the sports book," said a GTA police source who specializes in organized crime, but was not authorized to speak on the record to the Record.
Gunned Down in His Own Driveway
Perhaps the most notable of this year’s slayings occurred in May with the gunning down of Hamilton mobster and son of the late Canadian mob boss Dominic Musitano, Angelo Musitano.
Police described it as a “well planned hit”.
The Musitano Crime family, originally from Calabria, Italy, engaged in such criminal behavior as racketeering, loan sharking, money laundering, fraud, prostitution, murder, gambling, drug trafficking, smuggling and extortion.
Friends of victim said he had turned his life around in the past four years, found God and joined their weekly men’s Christian Bible study group.
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“It appears well planned, and a second vehicle parked nearby with a driver would make sense,” said Det.-Sgt. Peter Thom at the time of the slaying. “You don’t want to be involved in something like this and get back to the car and find that the car has been towed or is gone. It would make sense there is a second person involved.”
Future of the Mob in Canada
So what’s next for the Mob in Canada?
From the Record:
The leadership vacuum has attracted tech-savvy newcomers from Ontario and Quebec who are eager to challenge the old guard. It has also triggered vicious infighting inside what's left of the old Rizzuto organization in Ontario.
Some of this year's violence is blamed on an ongoing culture clash between the old and the new. On one side are the aggressive young computer-friendly newcomers from B.C. and Quebec allied to a gang called The Wolfpack Alliance. On the other side are the old guard — the GTA arm of the traditional 'Ndrangheta family of Cosimo (The Quail) Commisso of Siderno, Italy.
The Wolfpack Alliance was formed in British Columbia about a decade ago. The alliance pulls together members of existing crime groups, some of which are organized along racial lines, according to Kash Heed, former B.C. solicitor general, minister of public safety and West Vancouver Police chief.
It's a rapidly evolving group of organized crime disrupters. Their members don't have blood or ethnic ties or a code of conduct or a rigid hierarchy. They're generally young and tech savvy. They have gold pendants with a wolf's head gold medallion to show membership.
"It's a collective of very successful wealthy organized crime guys working together," Heed said.
By contrast, the 'Ndrangheta is steeped in a highly structured, quasi-religious criminal tradition that reaches back more than a century to the southern Italian region of Calabria.
Neither side appears to have an upper hand with the power vacuum left behind in the wake of Rizzuto’s death.
"Everybody's taking a hit," a veteran police office told the Record. "It was never like this."
- Alejandro Botticelli, Gambling911.com