Nine New Charges Filed Against Mafia Boss

Leonardo Rizzuto

Nine new criminal charges were filed against Leonardo Rizzuto today at the Montreal courthouse, right before his bail hearing was to commence.

Rizzuto was identified by law enforcement as one of two bosses of the Montreal Mafia family previously run by his father, Vito, who died in December 2013. Leonardo was arrested on Nov. 19 as part of Projects Magot and Mastiff, a joint investigation into drug trafficking in the city.

Rizzuto was charged with drug trafficking and gangsterism, which was introduced into Canada's Criminal Code in 1997 as a way to apply longer sentences against organized crime members. Specifically it was designed following the bloody street battles between the Hells Angels and The Rock Machine MCs for dominance over Quebec.

Of the new charges filed against him, one count alleges Rizzuto was in possession of cocaine, but not a large enough quantity for drug trafficking. The other eight charges are related to two seized firearms — a Browning semi-automatic pistol and a Walther semi-automatic pistol.

One charge specifically references a prohibited and loaded firearm found in Rizzuto’s home for which he had no permit.

Stefano Sollecito, 48, Rizzuto's co-boss in the crime family, also had his bail hearing today.

Evidence heard during today's hearing was placed under a publication ban -- meaning the media wasn't privy to it.

The hearing is expected to run through Wednesday regarding Rizzuto, 46, and Sollecito, 48.

Both face two charges related to Project Magot, a Sûreté du Québec-led investigation into drug trafficking in Montreal. Charges are for participating in a conspiracy to traffic in drugs between Jan. 1, 2013, and Nov. 16 of last year.

They were arrested in November and identified as co-leaders of the Rizzuto family at the time.Rizzuto’s father, Vito, was the Montreal Mafia's boss for around two decades, up until his death in December of 2013 of cancer.

Leonardo Rizzuto, who as an attorney is a member of the Quebec Bar Association, was convicted twice in the past for impaired driving. He was sentenced to14 days in prison in 1995.

Sollecito, the son of Mafia leader Rocco Sollecito, 67, was arrested in 2001, as part of a Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit investigation dubbed Project Oltre. The investigation, based in Ontario, uncovered a group that had distributed tens of thousands of ecstasy pills in Canada.

Sollecito ended up with a four-year prison term in Project Oltre, after being convicted of drug trafficking and the illegal possession of a firearm.

According to a Parole Board of Canada decision made in 2003, while serving his sentence, Sollecito was “perceived as a person who had power over other inmates.”

Both Rizzuto and Sollecito have been detained since Nov. 19.

Eighteen were charged in Project Mastiff, seven of which have since been released. The other nine people have been detained and charged as part of the same indictment as Rizzuto and Sollecito. Their bail hearings are scheduled for next week. Forty-six people were arrested in both Projects Magot and Mastiff since Nov. 19.

Two men, José McCarthy, 39, and Patrick Williams, 41, are still at large.