Young Tech-Savy Turks Take On Ndrangheta in South Ontario

Around a dozen unsolved incidents of violence have occurred so far this year in Southern Ontario, a volley of gunfire, restaurant bombings, and outright murder.

It's presumed by law enforcement in Canada that this is an ongoing mob war to fill a leadership vacuum created by the death of  "the Canadian John Gotti," as Gang Land News dubbed him.

Vito Rizzuto was waging a war of annihilation against foes internal and external once he returned home after serving a stint in an American prison for participating in a notorious triple homicide of Bonanno capos in 1981.
Vito Rizzuto died allegedly of natural causes in December 2013.

His death from cancer is the only thing that stopped him from killing more mobsters who either were against him or had shown disloyalty to him. Rizzuto's father and eldest son were slain by Ndrangheta members while he was in prison after Joseph Massino, the Bonanno crime family boss, flipped and gave testimony about Rizzuto's role in the triple murders.

Ever since Rizzuto, the powerful Montreal Mafia boss died of natural causes in December 2013, "the results have been bloody," as reporter Peter Edwards noted in an analysis of ongoing tensions and unsolved incidents in a titanic underworld struggle that is wreaking havoc in Canada.

Everybody wants to be the next boss now that Rizzuto is gone,” Paul Manning, a former undercover officer in Hamilton said in the story. “There’s a lot of infighting over who will be the next boss.”

"The leadership vacuum has attracted tech-savvy newcomers from Ontario and Quebec who are eager to challenge the old guard," Edwards noted in the report, published by The Star online news website.

"It has also triggered vicious infighting inside what’s left of the old Rizzuto organization in Ontario."

This seems to explain the murder of Angelo (Ang) Musitano, 39, who was shot to death in his driveway back in May. (We previously posted our theory of the dynamics behind that gangland hit.)

Hamilton police Det.-Sgt. Peter Thom called the high-profile hit “a very deliberate and targeted attack.”

Musitano’s 49-year-old brother, Pat, is reputedly a former longtime Rizzuto associate with interests in illegal gambling, according to a report by the Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario.

Angelo Musitano "reportedly found religion" after he and Pat copped to conspiracy to commit murder for the 1997 gangland hit on Carmen Barillaro at his Niagara Falls home.

Musitano and his brother, Pat Musitano, in fact, were charged with first-degree murder in the 1997 deaths of Hamilton crime boss Johnny “Pops” Papalia and Barillaro, a cohort of Johnny Pops.

The brothers pleaded guilty in 2000 to conspiracy to commit murder in Barillaro’s death. As part of a plea deal, the charges relating to Papalia’s death were withdrawn, according to Parole Board of Canada documents.

We've also learned there was a specific reason for the Barillaro hit, based on documents. Shortly after Papalia’s death, Barillaro accused Pat Musitano of the killing of the man who once served as Canadian vice-roy to notorious Buffalo crime boss Stefano Maggadino.

Angelo Musitano and his family, which allegedly has been associated with  organized crime for three generations, took Barillaro’s “threats of retribution seriously,” the documents said.

Angelo Musitano gave the shooter, Ken Murdoch (who is out on the street today working as muscle in nightclubs, under a new identity, we'd have to believe) the go ahead to kill Barillaro, the parole board said. 

Ken Murdoch

Then on July 23, 1997, about two months after Papalia’s death, Angelo Musitano and Murdoch went to Barillaro’s home in Niagara Falls, Ont. The shooter went in and shot Barillaro in the head and chest, according to the parole documents.

Police also believe Angelo Musitano was involved in two restaurant bombings in 1990, according to the documents.

In 2004, the board denied his request for full and day parole.

After serving two-thirds of his sentence, he was released in 2006, with conditions to avoid contact with criminals and his brother.

Angelo Musitano was arrested again in March 2007 as police believed he was in breach of his conditions. Hamilton police had records that showed “a large number of calls” between Musitano and his brother. A Hamilton police memo also contained allegations of violence and extortion, based on unnamed informants. Musitano denied those allegations, and the parole board finally released him on June 1, 2007.

Sicilian mob boss Rizzuto allegedly backed the Musitano Ndrangheta organization, which Edwards left out of his story. In fact in the 1990s Rizzuto is believed to have formed an alliance with the Musitano brothers in what may have been a classic Mafia maneuver though we'll never know with certainty what Rizzuto would've done with the Musitanos had he been able to consolidate his power to include both Quebec and Ontario, the Canadian Mafia's historical goal, but he definitely leveraged a relationship with them to wipe out his competition, Johnny Pops, Barillaro, and a third man.

On Sept. 11, 1996, Enio "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.

The next year, in May of 1997, Murdock killed Johnny Papalia and later Barillaro.

According to Murdock himself, shortly after the hit on Papalia, the Musitanos had considered taking out the three brothers who together ran the Luppino family, presumably in a move to dominate Hamilton, a key city in the Ontario province in terms of historical organized crime.

Gambling a Sticking Point

"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," Edwards noted.

Law enforcement investigating the May shooting of a mob boss in Canada.

“Everyone’s fighting for control of the sports book,” a GTA police source told the reporter.

Early on the morning of June 27, someone opened fire on the Hamilton home of Pat Musitano.

The gunman, or gunmen, apparently wanted to send a message -- considering some 20 shell casings were found in front of his upscale home on St. Clair Blvd.

"Manning suspects it was a message to Pat Musitano that he should shelve any plans of avenging the murder of his younger brother," Edwards reported.

“It’s a warning to leave it there,” Manning said, adding that when Rizzuto was alive he was known to resolve disagreements inside his organization 'like a stern but fair father." In fact,  “Usually, there would be a sit-down, an apology.” (That's somewhat reminiscent of the method used by Simone (Sam the Plumber) DeCavalcante, boss of New Jersey's only homegrown Mafia crime family, who'd actually have his men shake hands after disagreements.)

Edwards attributes some of the violence to "an ongoing culture clash between the old and the new."

The new include "aggressive young computer-friendly newcomers from B.C. and Quebec allied to a gang called The Wolfpack Alliance," he wrote, while the other side comprises 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. Membership reputedly includes groups from various other criminal organizations, including the Hells Angels, the Red Scorpions, and the Independent Soldiers, which were in a street war in British Columbia with the Duhres, the Dhaks and some United Nations members.

"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," Edwards wrote.

“It’s a collective of very successful wealthy organized crime guys working together,” Heed said.

The ’Ndrangheta is a highly structured criminal organization that reaches back more than a century to the southern Italian region of Calabria.

Other key points in the report:

  • The ’Ndrangheta’s profits surpass many multinational corporations. Italian investigative journalist Giulio Rubino wrote earlier this month that the ’Ndrangheta made $70.41 billion (U.S.) worldwide in 2013.
  • The violence between the newcomers aligned with the Wolfpack, and the old guard in the ’Ndrangheta "isn’t expected to end anytime soon, as the Wolfpack has aligned itself with enemies of the GTA ’Ndrangheta, sources say."
  • The Star also reported it has learned that police have warned two York Region men considered to be senior members of Commisso’s family that there are credible threats on their lives. The warnings came over the past month; the men declined police protection.
  • Two other men considered to be senior underworld figures in York Region have chosen to leave town in the past month. One of the two is a Commisso relation. The other is related to Agostino Cuntrera, a former leading member of the Rizzuto crime family in Montreal murdered in 2010.

The Rizzutos and local ’Ndrangheta were fighting it out when Rizzuto died. The war claimed Rizzuto's father and son, while the man himself was in an American prison.

At the time of his death, Rizzuto allegedly had doped out a death list of men in the Commisso family who the ruthless Cosa Nostra boss wanted dead.

“People are watching their backs now,” the veteran investigator of organized crime said. “People aren’t being as open to meetings now. They’re getting nervous.”

Anastasios (Tassos) Leventis, 39, of Montreal, was connected to the Wolfpack Alliance, though he wasn't a member. He had moved to downtown Toronto from Montreal last year to collect drug debts owed to Montrealers, the police source says.

On the day he was murdered, "Leventis realized something was horribly wrong almost immediately after stepping out of the condo complex on George St. near Adelaide St. E. in the St. Lawrence neighbourhood. He bolted in front of students, passersby, construction workers and area residents.

"Moments later, a gunman stood over him, pumping bullets into his body."

“The victim knew his killers,” the police officer familiar with the case told the Star. “The killers were waiting for him outside his condo. He was chased down the street.”

“He certainly got set up,” the police source said.

Leventis was an enthusiastic gambler who trained as a computer programmer. Computer skills are vital as organized crime groups reach out across borders, journalist/ academic Luis Horacio Najera said in an interview. Mexican drug cartels connect with small groups like the Wolfpack Alliance with encrypted messaging systems as they push into Canada.

“In today’s world, there’s a lot of resources as personal information, contacts, instant communications — even hiring a hit man, or buying guns — that you can access through the web,” said Najera, who worked as a journalist covering drug cartels in Ciudad Juarez in Mexico before he was forced to leave the country as a refugee.

Domenic Triumbari, 58, of Woodbridge, was related to the Siderno ’Ndrangheta boss Commisso.

A longtime York Region resident, he'd just won a jackpot of $150,000 at Casino Niagara when a gunman ran right up to him in a parking lot and shot him dead.

“He’s not a guy that you would just casually decide to take out,” a retired organized crime investigator said.

Much of the violence is taking place in the York Region, the report noted.

It includes and the massive explosion early in the morning of June 29 that blew off a wall of Caffé Corretto on Winges Rd. near Highways 400 and 7.

The café had been targeted in a police sweep of illegal gaming machines in January 2016.

"Both sides are strong and motivated and there’s no one with the power of Rizzuto to order a cease fire," Edwards wrote.


  1. As always, great work Ed!
    Man, those guys in Canada just continue to shoot it out in the streets, but I think the most glaring thing in all of this is how utterly weak the Canadian govt is, as they seems to have little to no ability to put any of this to an end. That said, I get the feeling the killing would continue even if the Canadian Feds rounded up & indicted the upper echelon of these groups. Too much drug money at stake for any group to just simply give up, I suppose. Allie Shades

    1. I believe the lack of Rico in Canada is why the mafia clans are so strong there.

    2. Very true, RICO has been huge here in the US, but Canada still hasn't come up with their own version yet, even though RICO was introduced here in the early 70's (though it took a while for prosecutors to finally sue it effectively). Allie Shades

    3. Yes Canada interestingly enough has two separate mafia 's. And not one real law like RICO, though they go have a law against gangsterism Wtf that is. Maybe they don't like our RICO act I wonder


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