What’s next for Vito Rizzuto?
Published Thursday, October 4, 2012 8:02PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 4, 2012 8:03PM EDT
The reputed boss of the Montreal Mafia is set to be released from prison this weekend after spending the last five years in a U.S. prison.
What’s next for the man whose family and closest confidantes have been killed or arrested while he spent time behind bars?
A source told CTV News that Rizzuto will be escorted to Canada by airplane by two homeland security agents, but he won’t land in Montreal.
This source has confirmed from U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement that Rizzuto will be released into their custody once he is released from the Federal Correctional Institute in Colorado, also known as the 'Alcatraz of the Rockies.’
Rizzuto’s travel plans following his landing have been arranged by Rizzuto's lawyer, said the source.
The 66-year-old Rizzuto pleaded guilty in 2007 to racketeering charges in connection with the murders of three captains of the Bonnano crime family in New York in 1981.
He was extradited to the U.S. to face the charges, and was sentenced to a 10-year prison term.
Prison officials told CTV News that Rizzuto ended his sentence in medium security and was a model citizen during his incarceration.
Now, Rizzuto must move forward with his life, despite the marked decimation of his clan in the past six years.
“Vito Rizzuto coming out is a weakened man at the head of a weakened organization,” said Adrian Humphreys, an organized crime reporter for the National Post.
Rizzuto’s son Nick Jr. was murdered in a brazen day time shooting only days before Christmas in 2009.
Nick Rizzuto’s grandfather and Vito Rizzuto’s father, Nicolo Rizzuto Sr., was shot in his home in 2010. The murder came only months after his associate Agostino Cuntrera was killed.
In May 2010, Vito Rizzuto’s brother-in-law and advisor Paolo Renda disappeared without a trace – victim of an apparent kidnapping.
Other close friends and associates of Rizzuto’s have also found themselves behind bars.
Julian Sher, an investigative journalist with the Toronto Star, questions wonders if the violence will continue.
“He's going to be visiting a lot of graves. The question is, are there going to be any more fresh graves in Montreal?” he said.
Rizzuto’s name has been in headlines over the past few weeks thanks to the Charbonneau commission, an inquiry designed to weed out corruption in Quebec’s construction industry.
This week, former construction boss Lino Zambito spent days testifying his account of kickbacks to the Mafia, naming Rizzuto as a central player.
Despite the strikes against him, Rizzuto is unlikely to give up his influence, said Humpreys, who has written several books on the Mafia.
“Vito Rizzuto has a long history of securing power and keeping himself in power,” he said. “That is not a position that one gives up easily.”
He is likely a marked man, said former RCMP superintendent Ben Soave, who handled organized crime cases.
Staying alive is Rizzuto’s top priority, said Soave.
“Next, he's going to assess the situation; who his allies are, who his enemies, are but I am quite certain he will stay quiet for the next while,” said Soave.
The question remains – where will Rizzuto end up? With his house for sale, rumours are swirling the alleged Mafia kingpin could head west to Toronto.
“It's clear that if Rizzuto wants to hold on to power, he will face a lot of rivalry,” said Sher, explaining that a group outside of Quebec is looking to make gains inside the province.
“Some of the power grab while he was away came from his rivals in Ontario, The 'Ndrangheta, the Calabrian mob,” said Sher. “What will Vito Rizzuto do? I think police and a lot of gang members are watching nervously.”
Rizzuto's father-in-law, 92-year-old Leonardo Cammalleri – a name well known to the RCMP –died this week of a heart attack.
Visitation at the Loreto funeral home, which is owned by the Rizzuto family, takes place Friday.
Reports say he was wanted by Italian authorities, and had been hiding in Montreal for decades, though the Italian government never asked for his extradition.
No word yet on if Vito Rizzuto will attend the funeral should he be released Friday and arrive in Montreal.