Man called Canadian mafia figure lands in Toronto

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Associated Press

Posted on October 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM

TORONTO (AP) — A man described in court documents as the former boss of the Canadian mafia arrived in Toronto after he was released from a federal prison in Colorado after serving half of a 10-year sentence in a racketeering case, police said Saturday.

Peel Regional Police constable George Tudos said Vito Rizzuto arrived at Toronto's Pearson International Airport late Friday night aboard an Air Canada flight.

Rizzuto completed his sentence Friday for his role in the 1981 murders of three renegade captains of the Bonanno crime family, one of New York's five big Sicilian Mafia clans.

Rizzuto pleaded guilty in 2007 to racketeering charges related to the three Mafia killings. He was released from a prison in Colorado after getting credit for time served and good behavior.

Rizzuto was accused of participating in the fatal shootings at a Brooklyn social club in May 1981 of three captains of the Bonanno crime family — Dominick "Big Trin" Trinchera, Philip "Philly Lucky" Giaccone and Alphonse "Sonny Red" Indelicato.

The men were suspected of plotting to take control of the organization, authorities said.

Crime boss Joseph Massino was sentenced to life in prison in 2005 after pleading guilty to orchestrating those killings and five others.

Children discovered Indelicato's body in 1981 while playing in a vacant lot in Queens that became known as a graveyard for people ordered killed by gangsters.

In 2005, based on evidence from the Massino investigation, authorities returned to the site and unearthed the remains of Giaccone and Trinchera.

Peel Regional Police constable Tudos said officers were waiting at the airport arrivals gates for Rizzuto.

"I mean due to the history behind this individual, we wanted to make sure that he arrived safe and that everyone at the airport would be safe," he said.

The 66-year-old reputed Mafia boss remained at the airport for only a short time before Tudos said he departed, destination unknown.

"He came from the U.S. and he's a free man, so he's going where ever he chooses at this point, and that's unknown."

There had been speculation Rizzuto might arrive in Montreal for the funeral of his 92-year-old father-in-law, however, the service was held Friday morning before he could get there.

Rizzuto was deemed to be the head of a powerful criminal organization when he was arrested in 2004, with connections to a multitude of legal and illegal businesses tied to different countries.

But the organization was battered during his years behind bars. Scores of his associates were arrested, and many others have been killed.

The slayings have straddled three generations of Rizzuto's own family, with his father and his son both gunned down. His brother-in-law has been missing for two years.

Rizzuto's palatial home on a Montreal street dubbed by police as "Mafia Row," because several family members lived there, is also on sale for US$1.53 million (CA$1.5 million).

And now the business dealings of the Rizzutos are under intense public scrutiny as a Quebec inquiry into corruption in the construction industry looks at the mob's role in public-works contracts.

Over the past two weeks, the commission has heard testimony about how construction executives colluded to decide ahead of time who would win the bidding on public contracts and at what price.

Old images of Rizzuto's late father Nicolo stuffing cash into his socks were broadcast during inquiry proceedings. The tape was gathered during a surveillance operation that led to a multitude of Mafia arrests in 2006.

A former construction boss has testified that he was forced to pay the Mafia a 2.5 percent cut from public-works contracts, which drove up the cost of construction in Montreal.

Key witness Lino Zambito told the inquiry that when he had a dispute with another construction boss about who should win a rigged public contract, that other boss called upon Rizzuto to mediate. That rival construction owner, Tony Accurso, has denied squabbling with Zambito or calling upon a mobster for help.

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