Mafia Killer Detailed For Posterity His Own Role In Gang Land Mayhem

A previously unknown portrait of a mob killer emerged thanks to video recordings made by the assassin himself, as noted in an online report by Canadian newspaper Le Journal de Montreal.

Giuseppe De Vito, aka Ponytail.

A post on the blog Coolopolis pointed us to the Journal. We're publishing this to share information that, based on comments, we don't believe has been widely disseminated.

Giuseppe (Ponytail) De Vito died of cyanide poisoning in his Donnacona prison cell in 2013 in what was originally believed to be a case of suicide. His death has since been reconsidered as most likely murder.

De Vito allegedly was involved in 20 killings; many of his victims were Rizzuto loyalists.

As per the Journal de Montreal,  Canada's Investigation Office released a flood of documents about the hit man known as Ponytail (because he tied his hair in a ponytail). But also -- and in a nearly incomprehensible twist -- he shot video of himself confessing his innermost thoughts.

We know from his recordings that he was on the phone with his wife, Adèle Sorella, when he learned that police, having embarked upon the largest anti-Mafia roundup in Canadian history, were inside the luxurious Laval home he and she shared.

Ponytail decided instantaneously that he was going in the wind.

During the four-year runup to his 2010 arrest, De Vito split his time between Toronto and Montreal. When in Quebec, he lived in an apartment on rue Capri under the fake name of Max Mele or Max Melo. In Toronto he lived in the Le Pinnacle housing complex....

After disappearing when police invaded his home, Ponytail reemerged backed by the Ndrangheta, the Calabrian Mafia deemed as the world's most powerful organized crime organization and largest narcotics trafficker. It is a rival organization to the Sicilian Cosa Nostra.

Unlike in the U.S., Canada has two homegrown organized crime entities: the Sicilian and Calabrian Mafias. Though always rivals, the two organizations historically supplemented each other. And Canadian Cosa Nostra and Ndrangheta clans were aligned with the American Cosa Nostra from Prohibition through the 2000s, with exceptions. There's evidence that the long-term relationship between the Canadian and American mobs continues, though some have speculated that it had ended when the Bonannos, under Joe Massino, killed Gerlando (George From Canada) Sciascia) they mostly supported each other. Factional disputes began flaring up with startling rapidity following Vito Rizzuto's machinations to consolidate power in Montreal and Ontario with the murder of John Papalia in 1997.

Since around then, though the Papalia hit certainly didn't happen out of the blue, the organizations have been fighting a war that even today appears to be unfolding.

Papalia, aka Johnny Pops, may have been suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s disease when he was shot in the back of his head in the downtown Hamilton parking lot of a vending machine company he then owned. A successor to Giacomo Luppino, the longtime Ndrangheta boss based in the tough waterfront town of Hamilton (a man with Mafia links was shot dead there last September), Papalia had initially worked for Bonanno powerhouse Carmine Galante. He later switched his allegiance to Buffalo boss Stefano Magaddino, for whom Papalia's father had been a longtime associate.

Today, vendettas, not territory, seem to be driving the ongoing factional fighting, of which Tony Magi appears to be among the most recent victims.

Ponytail was loyal to Rizzuto, but grew to hate the Sicilian boss in time. Nursing a fat grudge, he ultimately switched sides and supported Raynald Desjardins who, in an alliance with the Ndrangheta, made his own bid for power by attempting to take control of the Rizzuto clan in Montreal.

Ponytail learned in spring 2009 that his wife had murdered their two daughters, the 8- and 9-year-old Amanda and Sabrina.

Shirtless, adjusting the camera to close in on his eyes, "he (then) fixes the lens for more than a minute and a half without saying a word. His face twists with pain as sad music plays in the background. He wears etched on his bicep the initials of his two murdered daughters."

His loyalty to Desjardins also initially aligned Ponytail with former Bonanno acting boss Salvatore Montagna, a decision that at the time probably didn't sound nearly as idiotic as it does today. The latter had recently arrived from New York to try to take over the Montreal Mafia.

The faction loyal to Desjardins killed Montagna after he first allegedly tried to have Desjardins killed.

Ponytail is suspected of kidnapping reputed consigliere Paolo Renda, a blood relative of the Rizzutos and the man who stepped up to keep order when Vito was arrested in 2004. DeVito also was believed to have murdered Agostino Cuntrera, the former number two of the Rizzuto clan.

According to the Journal, De Vito murdered Paolo Gervasi in 2004. During the shooting, a bullet from De Vito's weapon passed through Gervasi's body and hit young Carmelo Tomassino, an accomplice, in the belly.

"As a result of this injury, Tomassino was reportedly taken to an apartment where the decision was made to take him to Santa Cabrini Hospital for treatment.

"The police believe that De Vito opposed it and instead shot him in the head. His body was burned and buried by the mafia organization."