Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto's Last War
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Bestselling crime writers Peter Edwards and Antonio Nicaso reveal the final years of Canada's top mafia boss, Vito Rizzuto, and his bloody war to avenge his family and control the North American drug trade.
Until Vito Rizzuto went to prison in 2006 for his role in a decades-old Brooklyn triple murder, he ruled the Port of Montreal, the northern gateway to the major American drug markets. A master diplomat, he won the respect of rival mafia clans, bikers and street gangs, and criminal business thrived on his turf. His family prospered and his empire grew--until one of North America's true Teflon dons finally lost his veneer. As he watched helplessly from his Colorado prison, the murders of his son and father made international headlines; the killings of his lieutenants and friends filled the pages of Canadian news; and the influence of the 'Ndrangheta, the Calabrian Mafia, spread across Montreal faster than the blood of Rizzuto's crime family. In 2012, Vito Rizzuto emerged from prison, a 66-year-old man who could carefully rebuild his criminal empire or seek bloody revenge and damn the consequences. From the events leading to his imprisonment to his shocking death in December 2013, Business or Blood is the final chapter of Vito's story.
NOVEMBER 22, 2006: Police hit Rizzuto crime family with eighty-two arrests at culmination of Project Colisée. Top-level members taken into custody include Paolo Renda, Rocco (Sauce) Sollecito, Lorenzo (Skunk) Giordano, Francesco Arcadi and Nicolò Rizzuto AUGUST 15, 2007: Six men murdered in German town of Duisburg in latest stage of ’Ndrangheta feud that began in Calabria two decades earlier over an egg-throwing incident. The murders put an international spotlight on the ’Ndrangheta, which is particularly strong in Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and dominates the European cocaine market.
Nicolò’s parole conditions were relaxed for the funeral of his namesake grandson; for this day he would not be forbidden from associating with known criminals. Pews filled quickly and many mourners stood in the aisles. Muscular men in trench coats and black gloves acted as security guards, briskly escorting two outsiders from the church. Police filmed those who came and left while hundreds of others took in the spectacle from the sidewalk. The most notable mourner on the day that Nick Jr. was laid to rest in his gold-coloured casket was the one who didn’t attend: his father.
He had always liked the Dominican Republic, and his friends in the Quebec Hells Angels had recently set up a charter there. Perhaps Vito would float between Montreal and York Region. Wherever he travelled, it would be with the realization that he would never again share a smile or a word with his father or his eldest son. No amount of money or wine or female companionship was going to change that. All he could hope for was the dull satisfaction of revenge. Perhaps that would also give his mother some cold comfort.
765 pistol. Hiding in a large doghouse inside the grounds was Pietro Scaduto’s brother Salvatore. His gun that evening was a dependable . 38 revolver. None of the men in the Clio carried weapons. Salvatore Scaduto had stashed a Spanish nine-millimetre pistol by a pillar on the gate. The plan was for Pietro Scaduto to exit the car to close the gate behind them, and for him to pick up the gun and start shooting. That was the cue for the others to come out firing. The two targets didn’t notice as Pietro Scaduto picked up the hidden gun and approached the car.
A lupara bianca means no ransom notes, no body, no answers, no sense of closure, no funeral or flowers on a grave. Nothing but loss and fear. The day after Renda’s disappearance, Nicolò Rizzuto was scheduled to appear in municipal court on an outstanding impaired driving charge dating back to an incident on December 31, 2005, before his Colisée arrest. That New Year’s Eve, he crashed his Mercedes into a fire truck that was en route to an emergency call. Police called to the scene reported he was unsteady on his feet and appeared confused.