Murder of Montreal Mafioso hints at power struggle, expert says
Published Tuesday, November 6, 2012 9:06AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 6, 2012 9:21AM EST
The recent murder of a Montreal mobster is indicative of a power struggle within the city’s organized crime set and more violence will likely follow, a Mafia expert says.
Speculation about a possible shake-up within the ranks of Montreal’s Mafia swelled Monday when the public learned that Joseph Di Maulo had been found dead north of the city.
Reports indicate Di Maulo, 70, was gunned down on his driveway in Blainville, Que.
And while police investigate the homicide, Mafia expert Antonio Nicaso says the crime hints at a larger, more worrisome problem: a period of instability within Montreal’s Mafia.
“At this point, Montreal is like a powder keg. Anything can happen,” he told CTV’s Canada AM on Tuesday morning.
Nicaso ventures that much of the unpredictability is related to the return of influential mob boss Vito Rizzuto, who came back to Canada in early October after serving a five-year prison sentence in the United States on charges of racketeering and conspiracy.
While Rizzuto sat in a Colorado prison, his father and son were murdered in Montreal. At the same time, his brother-in-law disappeared without a trace.
His prison sentence and the subsequent incidents fueled discussion about who was now controlling Montreal’s enigmatic Mafia.
It’s difficult to determine how Di Maulo fits into Rizzuto’s story, said Nicaso.
Though the two once had a good relationship, Nicaso said Di Maulo’s allegiances became difficult to follow once Rizzuto left the country.
“During a power struggle, alliances form and break up constantly. So the problem for police investigators is now to identify who is on one side, who is on the other side,” he said.
Di Maulo was widely regarded as an influential member of the Montreal Mafia, a Calabrian whose profile rose considerably when the Cotroni crime family was in power. According to Nicaso, Di Maulo held onto that clout once the Rizzuto family came into power.
“People used to say that he had his foot in two camps. Capable to switch from one side to another,” said Nicaso.
Di Maulo’s death comes as a Quebec inquiry continues to look into allegations of corruption and the role of organized crime within the province’s construction industry.
Explosive testimony at the Charbonneau Commission has delved into accusations of illegal financing for political campaigns and kickbacks for construction bosses. Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay cited the revelations when he resigned Monday night.
In Nicaso’s eyes, the commission has offered a glimpse into how the Montreal Mafia has thrived in the past, by forming connections with movers and shakers.
“Let’s forget about the movies, big-screen violence and everything. The Mafia survives only if the Mafia is capable (of building) political and financial connections,” he said.