Does Musitano Hit Have Decades-Old Links to Rizzuto Alliance?

Who killed Angelo Musitano yesterday, shooting him numerous times as he sat in his pickup truck in the driveway of his home?

The answer might have something to do with someone shot to death 20 years ago this very month, specifically, a mob boss named Johnny Pops.

The Musitanos allied with Vito Rizzuto.
Angelo paid the ultimate price.

That could mean the shooter worked for the same group responsible for gunning down the remnants of the Sicilian Mafia clan formerly run by Vito Rizzuto.

The Musitanos are a Ndrangheta clan, yes, but the family had committed what some mobsters may have viewed (for 20 long years) as an unpardonable offense: the Musitanos partnered with the Cosa Nostra, and ordered several hits against local Ndrangheta bosses.

The Musitanos didn't benefit from Stefano Magaddino's largess, as had two other Ndrangheta clans nearby. Yes, that Magaddino, Stefano "The Undertaker" (October 10, 1891 – July 19, 1974), the Sicilian Mafioso who became the Buffalo crime family's boss and may have had a seat on the original Mafia Commission in 1931. That same year, the Commission decreed that Quebec, including the key city of Montreal, were under the control of Joseph Bonanno. Southern Ontario, including Toronto and the waterfront town of Hamilton, were placed under the control of Bonanno's cousin, Magaddino.

Magaddino named Giacomo Luppino as the Buffalo crew's long time representative. Luppino was the first Ndrangheta member to set down roots in Hamilton.

Giacomo's term was stable. In Southern Ontario, there was a precarious balance of power considering all the crime families and other organized crime rings riddling the area, especially in the key port town of Hamilton. Giacomo was known to be more of a negotiator. Think of him as having shades of Angelo Bruno, former longtime Philadelphia boss.

Pat Musitano, right.

Giacomo's death was a natural one. He died in 1987 at 88. Johnny "Pops" Papalia assumed control.

It was then that the Musitanos decided to make a move of sorts. They joined with Rizzuto, who had consolidated control over Montreal one body at a time and was reportedly eyeing nothing less than the domination of Southern Ontario, which would've heightened his power exponentially.

A Rizzuto lieutenant was seen by law enforcement meeting with Musitano family leaders after each of three key hits went down in the late 1990s.

Aside from Papalia, two of his chief confidants were killed, Enio "Pegleg" Mora and Carmen Barillaro.

In the 1990s, Mora had borrowed $7.2 million from Vito Rizzuto, giving the bulk of it to Johnny Papalia and Carmen Barillaro. When Vito start inquiring about repayment of the loan, he was ignored.

The violence commenced on Sept. 11, 1996. Pegleg Mora was shot four times in the head at point blank range after pulling his gold-colored Cadillac into the driveway of his farm in north Toronto.

Rizzuto had launched his attack, backing the Musitanos.

Rizzuto never got another shot -- as he was arrested and deported to an American prison after a Bonanno crime family boss did the unthinkable: he flipped and caused Rizzuto's arrest for a 1980s triple homicide.

In 2000, the Musitano brothers were sentenced to 10 years in prison under a plea deal for conspiring to murder Barillaro. Charges for Papalia’s death were dropped as per the deal.


• Aug. 13, 1930: Bessie Starkman, common-law wife to Rocco Perri is gunned down in the garage of their house on Bay Street South. No one was ever charged in the killing. More than 10,000 people attended her funeral.

• April 23, 1944: Last sighting of Rocco Perri, Canada's King of Bootleggers, who vanished while out for a walk. Perri made a fortune in Hamilton through illicit booze, prostitution, narcotics and the enforcement racket.

• Late 1970s to summer of 1980: A series of bombings across Hamilton targets the Italian community. Hamilton became known as "bomb city" during that time. In 1983, Anthony Musitano is convicted of conspiracy to possess explosive substances with intent to cause explosions and sentenced to 15 years.

• Nov. 21, 1985: Salvatore (Sam) Alaimo, a Stelco janitor and father of five, is shot as he worked in his Florence Street home. He was killed in a drive-by shooting by former Mob hit man Ken Murdock.

• March 5, 1992: Someone tries to burn down the Collins Hotel in Dundas. Paper placemats were soaked in gasoline and stuffed into toasters set on timers. In 1996, Pat Musitano and his brother-in-law, John Trigiani, were acquitted of conspiracy to commit arson and arson for the purpose of insurance fraud. At the time, police were investigating Pat's father for several other suspicious fires. The fraud and arson investigation, called Project Toast, was an effort to figure out why Musitano properties kept bursting into flames.

• July 23, 1997: Carmen Barillaro, a lieutenant of Hamilton mobster Johnny (Pops) Papalia, is shot in his Niagara Falls home. Ang and Pat Musitano pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.

• May 31, 1997: Johnny (Pops) Papalia is killed outside his Railway Street office. The powerful Mob boss, known as The Enforcer, was gunned down by hit man Ken Murdock in broad daylight as he walked through the parking lot of his family's vending machine business on Railway Street. Pat and Ang Musitano were charged with first-degree murder in this contract killing, but a deal saw this charge dropped in exchange for the plea in the Barillaro case. The brothers were sentenced to 10 years and released on full parole in 2006.

• Nov. 18, 1998 and Feb. 3, 1999: A pair of restaurant bombs are connected to organized crime. The first was a bomb left at the front door of La Cantina Ristorante on Walnut Street. It misfired. The second went off in an alley behind La Costa restaurant on King William Street. The explosion caused minor injuries to a man and his sister.

• Sept. 22, 2015: Pat Musitano's vehicle is set on fire at his St. Clair Boulevard home.

• May 2, 2017: Ang Musitano is gunned down in his car in the driveway of his Waterdown home.