Vito Rizzuto released from prison
Published Friday, October 5, 2012 9:58AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, October 6, 2012 12:48AM EDT
Canadian Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto was expected to return to Canada Friday night following his release from custody in the U.S., but where the Montrealer will settle remains shrouded in mystery.
Rizzuto, 66, was released from a medium security facility in Denver, Col. Friday morning according to U.S. prison officials. He was handed over to U.S. Immigration and Customs..
Carl Rosnok of U.S. Immigration and Customs said it was unclear what the reputed Sicilian Mafia boss would do after he landed in Canada.
“There are indications he could not come to his usual base in Montreal, but in fact settle in Toronto,” investigative reporter Julian Sher of the Toronto Star told CTV Montreal. “Both for safety but also to take his battle, if you want, to the lion’s den.”
Sher said there remain long-time rivalries between the Mafia in Toronto and Montreal, but there are also strong alliances.
“So where he geographically locates isn’t as important as how powerful he will be and will he be able to take on his rivals,” said Sher.
Meanwhile Rizzuto's palatial home on the infamous Montreal street dubbed by police as "Mafia Row" is on the market for $1.5 million.
The mob boss was arrested in Canada in 2004 and was extradited to the U.S. in 2006, where he was convicted on charges of racketeering and conspiracy relating to the 1981 murder of three Bonanno crime family members in a New York City club.
Once the dominant figure in the Montreal underworld, Rizutto will return to weakened ranks when he arrives back in Canada. Both his father and son were murdered as he served his term, while in 2010 his brother-in-law disappeared without a trace.
“At 86 his father was important enough to kill,” crime writer James Dubro told CTV News Channel. “That sends a strong message to Vito that he is no longer in charge.”
The same day that Rizutto left prison, services were held at a Montreal funeral home for his father-in-law Leonardo Cammalleri, who died of a heart attack this week at 92. Cammalleri was wanted by Italian authorities in connection with several murders, but was never extradited.
Dubro said with Rizzuto out of favour and possibly a marked man, it’s unclear who the next mob boss might be. He added it usually takes years for Mafia kingpins to consolidate their power.
The business dealings of the Rizzutos are currently under intense public scrutiny as an inquiry into corruption in Quebec’s construction industry continues.
A former construction boss testified that he was forced to pay the Mafia a 2.5-per-cent cut from public-works contracts, which drove up the cost of construction in Montreal.
-with files from CTV Montreal and The Canadian Press